The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Char­lie Ben­nett

PAUL HUNT­ING­TON un­der­stands Pre­ston fans are dis­ap­pointed not be in the play-off pic­ture, but he says that shows just far they have come.

The Deep­dale side are now scrap­ping for a tophalf fin­ish after a slump in for­tunes. Four straight de­feats prior to yes­ter­day’s clash with Rother­ham has left them feel­ing de­flated.

But de­fender Hunt­ing­ton is quick to high­light how much the club have pro­gressed in the last few sea­sons, in which they have steadily built.

“We’ve been look­ing at some of the teams who were around us when we came into the Cham­pi­onship in 2015,” said the 29-year-old.

“Swin­don and Ch­ester­field were in the play-offs and they now find them­selves in League Two. It just shows what a dif­fer­ence a cou­ple of sea­sons can make.

“It shows the pro­gres­sion we’ve made that we’re dis­ap­pointed to be where we are and, hope­fully, we can im­prove again.

“We’ve not de­fended as well as we have for a large part of the sea­son. We’ve let in sloppy goals, es­pe­cially with set-plays the other night against New­cas­tle (Pre­ston lost 4-1 to the Mag­pies on Mon­day).”

Those four losses have left Hunt­ing­ton pulling his hair out, and he knows he has to take his fair share of the blame after be­ing part of a leaky Pre­ston back­line.

“In gen­eral play, I thought the shape was quite good, but we’ve just switched off at key mo­ments in games,” he added.

“I think the group of play­ers we’ve got and the staff de­serve to fin­ish higher than the po­si­tion we’re in and it’s up to us to do that now.

“Three or four points was about as close as we got to the play-offs and then we lost at Ful­ham. It shows we’ve pro­gressed and we’re not just happy to let the sea­son trun­dle along.”

VIEW: Paul Hunt­ing­ton

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