Davies enjoys PNE partnership with Huntington

North End centre-back Ben Davies
North End centre-back Ben Davies

Ben Davies says being paired with Paul Huntington at the heart of Preston’s defence has helped his development.

This has been the Barrow boy’s breakthrough season at Deepdale – he has made 28 

The majority of those have been next to Huntington, the duo forming a solid pairing.

Davies only went back to playing as a centre-half when he was on loan at Fleetwood in the second half of last season.

It was a position he then impressed Alex Neil in at PNE during pre-season, many of his appearances earlier in this career being at left-back.

The 22-year-old has shown plenty of composure in the middle, reading the game well.

Davies said: “I played as a centre-half in the youth team but it wasn’t really until I went to Fleetwood last year that I played it at senior level. In the youth team I used to read the game quite well and where the ball was going to go but it is 
only this season that I have been able to do that in the Championship.

“I’ve always been the one to drop off the game rather than be the aggressive one.

“When I play alongside Hunts he is more aggressive than me and it works well.

“I really enjoy playing next to him, he has played against the strikers we come across before and can tell you what they are like and what they can do.

“Hunts is always talking to me during games and I think we complement one another very well.

“He is good in the air, that is something I need to improve on.

“Anything in behind us, I will try and mop up while he tucks back in.”

Davies and his North End team-mates return to action on Saturday when they face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. They head to Wearside four points shy of the play-off pace with nine games 

Davies is of the view that time remains of their side to try and close the gap.

He said: “It is not like there are only a couple of games left and that we have an unlikely chance.

“With nine games to go there are plenty of points left to play for.

“We need to get something at Sunderland and if we do that, then we have the break to re-charge the batteries and go again.”

Davies is pleased to see Sean Maguire back in the fold after his long injury absence, the striker having scored four goals in three appearances.

“When you play against Sean in training he really is a nightmare, especially in tight areas,” said Davies.

“He is so sharp and quick off the mark.

“I’m so pleased for him to have come back and hit the ground running. It’s good for him and good for us.”