Ashley Hunter’s joy at helping Fleetwood Town to pre-season Preston North End victory

Ashley Hunter scored the only goal against Preston North End
Ashley Hunter scored the only goal against Preston North End
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Ashley Hunter was delighted to make a big impact from the bench as Fleetwood Town ended pre-season on a winning note.

Hunter was a first-half substitute against Preston on Friday night at Highbury, summoned for duty when Josh Morris was carried off on a stretcher with a leg injury.

The 23-year-old scored the winner in the second half, running on to a pass from Harry Souttar to slide a shot into the net.

Hunter said: “It was nice to score the winner and it was a good way to finish pre-season.

“It was class from Soutts to steal the ball and have the composure for a centre-half to slide me in with a great little reverse ball.

“Fortunately I tucked it away with the help of about five deflections!

“They all count and any goal is a good one.”

Hunter and his team-mates are now gearing-up for Saturday’s season opener at Peterborough United, the Posh one of the sides tipped to be pushing for promotion.

Fleetwood fall into the same category and Hunter is confident about the campaign ahead.

“Peterborough is always a tough place to go but we believe we can come away with three points,” said Hunter.

“If we are going to be up there this year, that is the sort of place we need to be going and grinding out a 1-0 or 2-0 win.

“We are in good shape, pre-season has been good.

“I missed about a week with my ankle injury but I’m finally catching-up and getting the match sharpness.

“As well as the friendlies we’ve had 11 v 11 in training a few times so I’ve got games under my belt.

“We’ve got a good team coming along here, the gaffer has brought in a few new lads to strengthen the squad.

“I’m looking forward to seeing where we can finish in the table.”

Hunter’s early chance from the bench due to Morris’ injury wasn’t how he would have liked his extended time on the pitch to come about.

He said: “Hopefully Josh is alright and it was unfortunate that he had to come off injured – he’s a good player.

“I was ready to come on and I got more than an hour under my belt.”

Hunter made 29 starts and 14 appearances off the bench in League One last season, scoring nine goals in all competitions.

When coming on against Preston, he played on the left side of a front three with Wes Burns and Conor McAleny.

Fleetwood were today waiting for news on Morris’ injury, the summer signing from Scunthorpe United having gone for a scan after the Preston game.

He was hurt in a collision with North End right-back Darnell Fisher.