Preston North End stalwart in the frame for Championship clash with Bournemouth at Deepdale

Ryan Lowe has hinted that Paul Huntington could be back in the frame for Preston North End’s clash with Bournemouth at Deepdale on Saturday.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 1:30 pm

The PNE boss is without Liam Lindsay through suspension for the Cherries’ visit, while a hip muscle injury looks set to rule out Patrick Bauer.

Bambo Diaby looks to be next in the pecking order, with him having made his debut at Coventry last week.

But even though Huntington isn’t currently in the squad registered with the EFL, Lowe spoke in terms of him being involved on Saturday when he spoke to the local media at Euxton on Thursday morning.

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Preston North End defender Paul Huntington

There is a space left in PNE’s 25-man squad which Huntington could fill if North End choose to.

Lowe said: “Hunts has been different class since I have been here. He’s trained everyday and played in the reserve games.

"He has found himself down the pecking order because of the centre-halves we have got – we have been spoiled with the quality of our centre-halves.

"When you’ve got a suspension and an injury, it opens the door.

"I spoke to Hunts about that when I first came in and again a couple of weeks ago.

"What I always say is that things happen for a reason.”

Huntington, 34, made the last of his 305 PNE appearances on March 13 last year away at Wycombe.

He was a latecomer to the 25-man squad in the first-half of the season, with him added to it in September.

When the squad was re-registered after the January transfer window, Huntington was not included in the 24 players registered.

Neither was Matthew Olosunde, with North End wanting to be flexible and keep a slot free.

It might be this is the time when that last place is filled, giving Lowe the extra option in defence.

Huntington played 60 minutes of Tuesday afternoon’s reserve game against Fleetwood Town, skippering the side.

The fact he didn’t go the full distance was to leave something in the tank for a possible first-team inclusion.

A planned run out for Diaby in the Central League clash didn’t materialise either, which again points to him being involved on Saturday.

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