Carlisle United complete signing of Cumbrian defender Huntington

·3-min read
Paul Huntington with Carlisle boss Paul Simpson (photo: Amy Nixon)
Paul Huntington with Carlisle boss Paul Simpson (photo: Amy Nixon)

Carlisle United have today completed the signing of Cumbrian defender Paul Huntington.

The Carlisle-born player has joined the Blues on a one-year deal.

Former Trinity School boy Huntington, 34, was a free agent after leaving Preston North End.

He has now agreed to join Paul Simpson’s side and play for his home-city club.

Huntington will add valuable experience to United’s back line.

And his arrival also comes at a crucial time with the Blues in need of defensive reinforcements and also facing an anxious wait over an injury to Morgan Feeney.

Huntington’s dramatic arrival comes after a ten-year spell for the Cumbrian at Preston, after previous stints with Yeovil Town, Leeds United and Newcastle United.

A move for the centre-half had been mooted earlier in the summer without coming to fruition.

Huntington, though, has had further talks with Simpson this week and says he is delighted to join the Brunton Park club, having settled back in Carlisle with his young family.

“We spoke earlier in the summer, and it was a case of let me see what the options were,” he said.

“There were things there that would be maybe more financially better, or a better level – but this felt a right fit.

“It’s where I want to be for my family, and also I want to achieve something with this football club.

“I spoke to the manager again, touched base and asked if it was something he wanted, and in the last few days things have picked up and here we are.”

Huntington says he does not expect to be involved for the Blues against Swindon Town on Saturday, and needs “a couple of weeks” to get up to fitness.

He only featured once in Preston’s first team last season, but the defender – who played more than 300 games for the Championship club – says he has been constantly working on his fitness through the summer.

He added: “The fire and the energy to do it is still there.

“It will take me a few weeks to get up to speed but I’m hopeful once I get up to speed, my experience and organising a youngish team can hopefully show.

“A few other options even came up this week, but this felt a better fit. I felt I would feel more pride and passion in it. I’d still give my all wherever I was, but it has a bit more meaning to be from here.”

United boss Simpson told the club website he was "chuffed" to complete the signing of Huntington.

“I wanted him to be my first signing, if I’m going to be really honest, but I’ve had to be patient," he said. "I’ve bided my time and thankfully that’s paid off for us.

“I’m going to give the credit to Paul for getting this one going again because he came to our game against Crawley and, after that, he got back in touch to let us know that he’d loved the atmosphere the fans were creating and he’d liked the way we were playing.

“He said that he really wanted to be part of it and we took it from there. I’m now looking forward to getting him fully up to speed in terms of his match and football fitness. Once we get him there he’ll be out on the grass and hopefully doing a great job for us.

“It’s a perfect fit as far as I’m concerned, and I know he feels the same. He lives in the area, he knows the club, and he’s the one who resurrected the chance of this even coming to a successful conclusion."

Simpson said United's directors had backed him with the signing. "They’ve found that extra little bit for us and that’s allowed us to do it," he added.

Huntington will wear the number six shirt at United.