Paul Huntington eyes return to winning ways for Preston at Barnsley

Paul Huntington is targeting a return to winning ways when Preston cross the Pennines to face Barnsley at Oakwell this afternoon.

The central defender found the net for the first time since January in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.

Although pleased to be back on the scoresheet, he was disappointed his goal had not helped achieve a victory.

Nevertheless, it was a draw which stretched North End’s unbeaten run to seven games and edged them slightly closer to the play-off positions.

Paul Huntington goes up for a header against Nottingham Forest

“It was nice to score but it would have been even nicer to have won against Forest on Saturday,” Huntington told the Post.

“We go again at Barnsley and hopefully we can put in a good performance and get a win over there.

“Barnsley haven’t been on a great run of late but any game in this division is very much about what you do on the day.”

The PNE players trained yesterday morning, being in on Christmas Day something Huntington has got used to over the years.

Paul Huntington goes up for a header against Nottingham Forest

“We get enough holidays in the summer so we know this time of year is work time,” said Huntington.

“I’m 30 now and training at Christmas is the norm to make sure you are prepared right for Boxing Day.

“Over Christmas I think we are in 11 or 12 days on the spin, making sure we recover right after games and get ready for the next one.”

Huntington ended his 11-month wait for a goal in some style against Forest.

When the visitors did not clear their lines after Tom Barkhuizen had hurled a long throw-in into the box, the ball fell to Huntington in the ‘D’ outside the box.

He shifted the ball on to his left foot and drilled a low shot across the keeper.

Said Huntington: “I think I got the first touch on Tom’s throw-in, then I saw one of their midfielders going for it.

“I didn’t think he would get much purchase on it so I sort of arced my run towards the edge of the box.

“I caught it sweetly and knew it was going in before it actually did.

“It was a game I thought we deserved to win, I felt there was only one team trying to win it.

“We dominated for large parts although in the first half Forest had some joy with their full-backs over-lapping.

“During the game we got to the byline a lot but things didn’t quite drop for us in the box.

“Their goal came against the run of play but we showed a lot of character to get back in it and equalise.

“We pushed for a second goal but couldn’t quite get there.

“It kept our unbeaten run going and hopefully we can extend that at Barnsley.”