Preston North End defender Paul Huntington's honest assessment of his season so far

Paul Huntington is pretty honest when reflecting on his season so far.

The ‘Cumbrian Cannavaro’ has played 23 games for Preston North End this campaign in league and cup.

Preston North End defender Paul Huntington

Preston North End defender Paul Huntington

But despite being a regular for Alex Neil in an injury-hit season for the Lilywhites, the 31-year-old admits he, like PNE as a whole, has not been at his best.

Swansea are the visitors to Deepdale on Saturday with North End – 17th in the Championship – looking for their first win since December 15.

Huntington, however, is confident that with an influx of new signings and plenty of players coming out of the treatment room, things should soon be looking up sooner rather than later.

“If we’re honest with ourselves we know in the first half of the season we haven’t done as well as we can,” he said.

Huntington in the thick of the action against Doncaster in the FA Cup

Huntington in the thick of the action against Doncaster in the FA Cup

“It is partly down to the players that are missing but we know that we can perform a lot better.

“I’m looking to improve my own personal performance and to get back to the standards of last season.

“That’s not just myself but the whole team.

“We are more than capable and it’s just getting that consistency. That should come with getting players back.

“Hopefully they can stay fit and the new players coming in can have an impact.”

PNE are striving for the levels that saw them finish seventh last time around, exceeding expectations.

That came despite losing a host of defenders in October and November 2017, leading to a run of four straight defeats.

This season injuries have come at regular intervals and largely been in the final third.

“It’s difficult to judge where we are at in a way because we’ve not had a settled XI,” said Huntington.

“Last year we just had the one month – November. Then we got everyone back and went on the rise again.

“I’m confident that we’ll do that but we’re realistic and know we have to learn from the mistakes we’ve made this season as a team and move forward.

“The aim recently has just been getting bodies back.

“We’ve had a lot of players missing which has put plenty of demand on the same group of players over a busy period.

“We haven’t had that luxury to change things, especially off the bench.

“We’re all looking forward to having a lot more players available, both the ones that were out and the new signings, who are looking good in training.

“I’m sure we’ll be a lot stronger going forwards.”