PNE defender’s happy with progress

Paul Huntington fights for the ball against Nick Blackman
Paul Huntington fights for the ball against Nick Blackman
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Defender Paul Huntington believes PNE have found their feet in the Championship after they moved further away from the drop zone.

The Lilywhites built on last weekend’s impressive 2-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor by beating Reading 1-0 at Deepdale on Saturday.

North End dominated proceedings against a lacklustre, managerless Royles side to climb to 16th in the table.

The victory leaves Simon Grayson’s newly-promoted side just six points off a play-off spot.

And Huntington said that it would have been a wrong if PNE had not taken all three points.

He said: “It would have been a travesty if we hadn’t won the game. We have now found our feet in this division and we kind of know what to expect now.

“We are nearly halfway through the season and individually and collectively we are improving all the time.”

The result saw PNE’s robust defence bag their 12th clean sheet of the season in all competitions.

Huntington said the team have aimed to build on that solid base by concentrating on their forward play, and he is pleased the side’s hard work is now paying off.

He said: “We have worked on our attacking play.

“While overall we have remained solid throughout the season, it is definitely something we can improve upon and I think the work that we have done has come to fruition in the last couple of weeks.

“It is something we have worked on and obviously, going up a level, it is something we have needed to work on.

“We need to keep improving every time.

“The performances overall have been good.

“But maybe we’ve not capitalised as well as we could have done with chances and that has been the difference really.

“It is pleasing to add the goals to our game.

“We got two last week away from home and we followed it up with another three points against Reading which is great and I’m pleased that, for the first time this season, we have managed to get back-to-back wins.”

North End’s attacking prowess has been bolstered by the return to form of last season’s top scorer Joe Garner, who scored his first goal of the season in the 2-1 defeat to Blackburn and has built on that by netting two more times to bag three goals in the space of four games.

Garner scored the only goal of the game against Reading by winning and converting a penalty in the 52nd minute after he was tripped by Paul McShane. And Huntington believes on-loan Middlesbrough winger Adam Reach was unfortunate not to bag his first goal for the club.

He said: “Adam Reach was unlucky, he could have had a hat-trick.

“He hit the woodwork early on and we had chances in the second half that the keeper managed to save, or they were getting last minute blocks in, and you start to think, ‘Is it going to be our day?’ But we managed to get the one.

“I think we deserved to win, it was sort of unfortunate that we couldn’t get a second or third goal.

“We could have made it a little more comfortable for ourselves but we will take the win and build for another home game against difficult opposition, Birmingham City, at Deepdale on Tuesday.”