PNE skipper’s plan to get back on track

Stand-in captain Paul Huntington is hoping hard work on the training ground can result in better results for PNE
Stand-in captain Paul Huntington is hoping hard work on the training ground can result in better results for PNE

Paul Huntington believes a couple of good results can get things going again for Preston but knows there is plenty of hard work ahead.

The stand-in captain returned from suspension in the 3-0 defeat at Ipswich on Saturday as a depleted North End lost their fourth straight Championship game.

With seven defenders battling injury, a good start to life under Alex Neil has now turned into six games without a win.

PNE entered the international break 14th in the table, with Bolton the visitors to Deepdale when they return to action on Friday, November 17.

“As a collective we haven’t been doing well enough and now we’ve got a chance to work hard on the training ground,” said Huntington.

“You don’t want to dwell on a loss but we’ve got some improving to do. It only takes a couple of wins and you’re right in the mix again. We’re disappointed and we’ve got a lot of hard work ahead.

“We’ve just got to get on with it and try and get one, two, three back for the Bolton game after the international break.

“Hopefully we can get a few lads back which will give us a boost and we can have a good month or two leading up until Christmas.”

One of the more senior members of the squad at 30, Huntington admits he has never seen an injury crisis like the current one.

Tom Clarke, Greg Cunningham and Tommy Spurr are longer-term absentees, while Josh Earl, Calum Woods and Ben Davies should return sooner rather than later.

Darnell Fisher also limped off in the first half at Portman Road on Saturday with a groin problem.

Further forwards, Sean Maguire had an operation on his hamstring yesterday and is set to be sidelined for three to four months, while Jordan Hugill will serve a one-match ban against Bolton.

It all means Neil will have to shuffle the pack again which is far from ideal as PNE look to get back to winning ways.

“The break is much needed,” Huntington said.

“The fewer games the better at the moment with the amount of injuries we’ve got.

“You just can’t get your head around it, I’ve never seen anything like it.

“I would be lying if I said if it’s not affecting us when we go out there because the performances are suffering.

“It certainly helps when you’ve got a settled team.

“You’re always going to get changes throughout the season but it’s tough at the minute because we haven’t got a lot of choice in terms of personnel.

“We’ve got a big enough squad. It’s just the numbers of injuries is really frustrating.”