PNE defender on the mend

Paul Huntington is checked by Sam Johnstone
Paul Huntington is checked by Sam Johnstone
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  • Huntington head injury not serious
  • Grayson frustrated by result
  • ‘Two points lost’ says boss
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Paul Huntington is ‘fine’ after suffering a head injury which caused an eight-minute stoppage in play during Preston North End’s draw with Fleetwood at Highbury Stadium yesterday.

The centre-half fell face down to the turf after the second-half collision with PNE keeper Sam Johnstone and Town defender Nathan Pond.

He was up and about in the dressing room after the game and it was more of a precaution that he was stretchered off

He was tended to on the pitch by North End physio Matt Jackson and the Fleetwood club doctor before being carried off on a stretcher wearing an oxygen mask.

The Lilywhites were leading 1-0 at the time through an early goal from Daniel Johnson.

Soon after Huntington’s exit, the hosts equalised with a superb finish from substitute David Ball.

Preston boss Simon Grayson told the Evening Post: “He is alright, he’s fine.

“Hunts took a knock on the head and obviously it was a concern when he came off on the stretcher.

“He was up and about in the dressing room after the game and it was more of a precaution that he was stretchered off.

“The medical people had to do all their checks on him on the pitch and cover every eventuality. A player’s safety is of paramount importance and everything was done right with Hunts.

“We will assess him before our next game on Friday and hopefully he will be okay.”

Huntington was playing his 37th game in a row yesterday, with him having completed every minute of the other 36.

He was having another solid game until the injury, with Ball’s equaliser being the first shot on target of the game for Fleetwood.

Referee Andy Madley added on 12 minutes of stoppage-time to cover the injury delay and other breaks in play.

In that late spell, Johnstone had to pull off a save from Ash Hunter, while Scott Laird got back to make a great block to deny Ball after the home side broke on the counter.

Grayson pointed to a couple of missed first-half chances as being key to PNE leaving the Fylde coast with one point and not three.

“It was two points dropped, I’m sure of that,” said Grayson.

“In the first half we played really well, passed it well and competed very well.

“Jermaine Beckford should have scored just before half-time which would have given us the luxury of a 2-0 lead at the break.

“Before that, their goalkeeper made a great save from Lairdy, someone getting it over the bar.

“Other times we got into some really good positions when counter attacking but probably chose the wrong option.

“The game should have been over at half-time, it wasn’t, and we needed to go out and do things the same way in the second half.

“We didn’t play to the conditions as well as we should have done in the second half, Fleetwood tried to turn us and get us on the back foot.

“Saying that, I don’t think Sam Johnstone was peppered with shots at all.”