Paul Huntington’s back in the Preston North End squad and aiming for a slice of the action

Paul Huntington has another Preston North End comeback in his sights after working his way back to full fitness.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 8:00 am

The 34-year-old defender missed pre-season after a big drop in his iron levels.

With those back to normal after a course of tablets and a change of diet, Huntington is back in the first-team frame.

He was recently added to the North End squad which is registered with the EFL for Championship games.

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Paul Huntington is now in the EFL’s 25-man North End squad

Huntington, the veteran of 305 PNE appearances, was in the matchday squad for the first time this season at Birmingham last month.

Last week he was in the party which travelled to QPR but didn’t make the bench.

On Tuesday this week the Cumbrian Cannavaro topped up his fitness with 90 minutes in the reserves against home-town club Carlisle.

Huntington has been written off a few times in his Preston career.

None more so in 2014/15 when he didn’t start a league game until late October but ended the season as player of the year and with a play-off winners’ medal.

Huntington told the Lancashire Post: “I’ve had this chat with a few people at the club, I’m kind of at my best when I have a point to prove.

“You get written off or told you are getting older but I still feel capable of coming in and doing a job when needed.

“I’ve been improving my fitness and have enjoyed being out there again.

“There is another reserve game next week and probably another 90 minutes would see me feel at my best.

“With not doing much of the pre-season, I didn’t get the 45/60/75/90-minute build-up.

“The first reserve game it was straight back in, 90 minutes – bang.

“Now I’ve had a second 90 minutes, a good run.

“I’ve been added to the squad which is good and I just want to do my best.

“The pre-season was very frustrating because I couldn’t train but I’ve been back training for five or six weeks now and I feel sharp.

“I’m just waiting for an opportunity to come along and I back myself to take it.”

Huntington hit the 300-game milestone in January, helping PNE keep a clean sheet at Birmingham.

This is his 10th season at Deepdale and he is the longest-serving current North End player by some stretch.

The next slice of action for Huntington is likely to be in the Lancashire FA Senior Cup against Rochdale next week.

That is another chance to top up the fitness before the Championship restarts after the international break.

Said Huntington: “We’ve got two home games to start off with, a good opportunity to bounce back from losing against QPR – a game I didn’t think we played badly in.”