Missing tooth is Preston North End defender's reminder of dramatic win against Blackpool

Paul Huntington has a lasting reminder of Preston North End’s last derby meeting with Blackpool.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 4:45 pm

The central defender is one of two players remaining in the Lilywhites squad from the August 2013 clash in the League Cup at Deepdale.

Goalkeeper Declan Rudd is the other, Rudd on loan back then from Norwich.

Tom Clarke headed a late winner for North End eight years ago and on Saturday the Lancashire rivals will meet in the Championship at Bloomfield Road.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Paul Huntington and Tom Clarke celebrate Preston North End 's winning goal against Blackpool at Deepdale in August 2013

Huntington told the Lancashire Post: “The last game against Blackpool is one I remember well.

“One of my front teeth got knocked out when we were celebrating Clarkey’s goal.

“I think John Welsh came over the back of me and I headbutted someone.

“We were celebrating on the pitch and there I was screaming at a steward asking him to find my tooth!

The celebrations in which Paul Huntington lost a front tooth

“I’ve had a replacement fitted but that’s been knocked out twice – I think Joe Garner did it once.

“So the tooth isn’t that secure and it will be something I get sorted properly when I finish playing.

“If I got it fixed now and then got another whack on my jaw, that would cause a few more problems.”

Although eight years ago, that cup tie at Deepdale sticks in the memory for Huntington, and not just because of the missing tooth.

It came at the start of his second season as a North End player, with the 34-year-old now beyond the 300-match mark in PNE colours.

Huntington said: “After the game I remember getting home and I was still buzzing.

“Blackpool were the league above us at the time and with the rivalry, it was a huge result for us.

“I sat at home and thought, ‘Wow, I didn’t think it would be like that’!

“For the goal, I think it was Craig Cathcart, who is now at Watford, who was marking Clarkey.

“When the free-kick came into the box, Clarkey just got the run on him and connected with a header.

“At the end there was a pitch invasion and the only time I’ve experienced one since was after the play-off semi-final against Chesterfield.

“After that semi-final I was just fighting to keep hold of my shirt because I wanted to keep it for Wembley being superstitious.

“Going back to playing Blackpool, I’ve spoken with a few of the lads about it.

“They know about the rivalry because the fans have been talking about it since the summer.

“This one seems to have the edge, more than the games I have played in against Blackburn, Burnley and Bolton.”

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here