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First Team News

Confidence Is Key For Hunts

22 July 2017

PNE defender Paul Huntington feels that North End are a far better side with belief installed in their system after drawing 1-1 to Premier League Newcastle this afternoon.

The Lilywhites fell behind early on through Aleksandar Mitrovic who was first to pounce on Chris Maxwell's parry from an Rolando Aarons' shot - however, Alex Neil's side responded well and equalised just after the half hour through Tom Barkhuizen who powered home his fourth pre-season goal in as many games.

Huntington, who partnered Ben Davies at centre half this afternoon felt that once North End believed in themselves, they took the game to their opponents.

"I think the first half it took us a little bit to get into it," admitted Hunts to iFollow after the final whistle.

"The manager told us at half-time to have a bit of belief in what we were doing and once we did that we did well; we stood off a bit too much in the first half but once we got our confidence and got into the game we were a better side.

There were chances at both ends and as the game wore on, we were more comfortable in our roles and as a team.

"At half-time, the manager said to us it doesn't matter who we are playing, they're a good side and maybe in previous times we've sat off teams or let teams play.

"At certain times that's going to happen but once we got in amongst them - it was pretty even second half.

"I thought we got stronger and I think that's going to be key for us going forward."

Plenty of hours have been put in over the training ground over the last few weeks, both in fitness terms and tactical with the manager looking to add his own impetus on the side, and Hunts is excited that the time on the training ground is starting to come to fruition on the pitch.

He continued: "We spoke about taking in a lot of information but there are a number of things that I as an individual can improve from and as a team that we can improve on to get us the way we want to play collectively - we'll look to do that and build towards that in the last couple of pre-season games and then the real stuff starts."

Neil's appointment means Huntington has worked with a total of three manager during his time at Deepdale, and North End's joint longest serving player is excited over the new regime.

"He's a real good coach," added the towering defender on the gaffer. "When he came in, he said he wants to improve the players individually and collectively. We've took on a lot of information and it's all about implementing them as the last few friendlies have shown.

"We've picked up in confidence and got better, it's just making sure we do it from the start but there's a lot of different aspects that are going to make us a better team and hopefully be better at both ends, not just with the ball but both sides of it.

"It was a good work out and it was good to get 90 minutes under the belt."

To hear more from Paul Huntington as he also talks about partnering Ben Davies at centre half as well as Josh Harrop's PNE debut, watch the interview in full above now.


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