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Humph Gives Thoughts On Fixtures

22 June 2016

Chris Humphrey can't wait to get the season underway now the fixtures have been announced.

The winger missed most of last season through a shin injury, but is now raring to go ahead of pre-season and admits it all feels a lot closer now the fixtures are out. 

Speaking of the release of the 2016/17 schedule, the 28-year-old said: "It's brilliant, October looks tough but that's why we are in this division. It all feels real again now, we are back in next week and I'm really looking forward to playing a game of football again. 

"To be honest one of the first ones I looked for was Aston Villa, I've got a lot of friends back home who are all Villa fans. We play them at home first then away in January.

"You look at the big ones first, the likes of Villa and Newcastle but you have to play everyone twice and they are important games. 

"October will be great having those two teams at Deepdale and it will be fantastic for the fans and we should have some great crowds for those games and I'm r
really looking forward to it. 

The Jamaica international also has his eye on the local derbies, having missed them last year while on the sidelines. 

"The derbies are the ones to play and they are always the best games so I'm really looking forward to that and I can't wait to get back with the lads next week. 

"I have been coming in through summer anyway and Jordan Hugill has been in too so I've been doing things with him but I'm looking forward to seeing all of the lads next Thursday and getting to work and getting my first pre-season under my belt in two years really.

"I didn't have one last season so it's something that I'm looking forward to before the season kicks off. 

"The season is just a month or so away now, it flies by once we are back but I just want to get started now and get going. 

There are no easy games in the division, and it looks even more competitive this season, but that's something that Chris relishes going into the new season. 

"It's what the Championship is all about, they are all tough games but if you manage to pick up points against the bit teams then it sets you up nicely.

"It would be nice get some positive results against the three teams that came down when we play them in October and that would set us up nicely going into the Christmas period. 

Speaking of last season's three relegated sides, Humphrey continued: "They are the ones you want to try and get results against, I feel we have a chance against any team but if you get a result against those teams it's a great feeling. 

"If we have a good October looking at the fixtures then things could really get exciting, but every game is important and it's three points whoever you win against.

"December looks great too, you look at the whole fixture list and there isn't a month where we don't have a big game. They are all big games, that's how competitive the Championship is now, when you look back at it six or seven years ago you wanted to play in it.

"If any footballer had the chance to play in it now, you would want to more than ever because when you look at the teams in it and the players etc. it's huge.

"I want to play in every single game because every game is a massive game, you can have big crowds at every game because there are some very big teams in this league who have huge followings."

Though the former Motherwell man is desperate to get back out on the pitch, he admits the rest of the squad will be just as hungry to fight for their place in the team for the opening day of the season. 

"The type of squad we have, everyone will be hungry to be in the team and to be involved. With the likes of Newcastle and Villa coming down, you want to play well in games before that because you want to be in the team for those games.

"Everyone will be working hard pre-season, everyone will be trying to get in the team for every game, especially the big games.

"I've worked hard over the summer to help me do that and it's all about getting of to a good start for me and see where things go from there. 

"There's a lot of travelling early on, but you've got to go to all of these places at some point so why not get most of them out of the way at the beginning of the season. We won't have to travel too far after that and we are around for Christmas and things like that but none of it matters really, you get used to that in football. 

"We are all professionals, travelling is just part of it, and to be honest Preston is the club where I've been treated so well in your travelling.

"It's like a home game anyway with hotels and trains and things so it's not a problem for any of us at all."

As well as the fixture announcement, the draw was also made for the first round of the EFL Cup at 1pm on Wednesday. 

The Lilywhites will face Hartlepool United at Deepdale, which will be North End's first home game of the 2016/17 campaign. 

Speaking of the draw against the League Two side, Humphrey insisted the squad won't be taking the game lightly despite the difference in league standings. 

"You can't underestimate these teams, they will look at it as a cup final playing against a Championship team and they will bring a good crowd as well. These are tough games, whether it's Villa away or Hartlepool at home you have to treat them all the same.

"They are the teams that are the most frightening to us, they will want to win the game and show what they can do against a Championship club so we will certainly respect that." 

You can view the full fixture list by clicking here.

Alternatively you can download an A4 poster of the fixtures here. 

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