Paul Huntington reaches a Preston North End milestone

Preston North End's 2-2 draw with Bolton before the international break will no doubt be remembered more for the pushing and shoving after the final whistle.

Friday, 14th September 2018, 5:00 pm
Paul Huntington was a scorer in the play-off final at Wembley

But for Paul Huntington, it was a milestone moment in his PNE career.

It was the centre-back’s 250th appearance in a North End shirt, his association with the club going back to the summer of 2012.

He arrived on a Bosman from Yeovil Town and what a free transfer Huntington has proved to be.

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The move brought him closer to his Cumbrian roots after two years playing down in Somerset with Yeovil.

A breakdown of the games Huntington has played for North End sees 188 starts in the league and 22 matches coming off the bench.

He has played 17 FA Cup games for Preston, 12 in the League Cup in its various sponsors’ guises and 11 in other competitions.

Huntington has found the net 17 times, perhaps the goal which stands out being PNE’s in the League One play-off final victory over Swindon at Wembley.

He got the second goal in the 4-0 win, getting on the end of a Paul Gallagher cross to prod the ball home.

Huntington also found the net in the FA Cup fourth-round replay win at Sheffield United in February 2015.

That 3-1 set-up a fifth-round date with Manchester United at Deepdale.

When John Welsh left the club at the end of last season, Huntington became PNE’s longest-serving player in the current squad.

And with him signing a new three-year contract in July, his stay in Preston looks to have some time to run.

It has not always been plain sailing for Huntington at North End.

He had a long spell out of the first-team picture in the second half of the 2013/14 season and the first couple of months of the next term.

His first league game in the 2014/15 campaign came at Gillingham in the October, when he scored the winning goal that night in Kent.

Huntington kept his place and ended up winning the player of the year award.

A number of Huntington’s appearances have come in the same back four as Tom Clarke.

If Clarke plays against Reading on Saturday, it will be his 350th career game – he played for Huddersfield before making the move to PNE in 2013.

The statistics show that 152 times Huntington and Clarke have been together in the North End defence.

That is with Clarke either partnering Huntington at centre-half or the Preston skipper at right-back – a slot he filled against Bolton.