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Humph Hungry For Championship Success

19 May 2016


Humph Hungry For Championship Success

19 May 2016

PNE winger Chris Humphrey is hungry to prove himself in the Championship after missing the majority of last season through injury.

The Jamaica international had a taste of the second tier of English football before a shin injury ruled him out for the remainder of the 2015/16 season.

The 28-year-old is determined to be as fit as possible come the opening day of the 2016/17 campaign, and wants to prove to himself and the manager that he has what it takes to be a Championship player.

Chris will be training throughout the summer, rather than taking the usual break, with the aim of getting a head start before the lads return for pre-season. Speaking after one of his training sessions, he said: "At the end of the day I have got a year left, I've got a season basically to prove to the manager that I've still got it.

"Sometimes with these long injuries people don't come back quite the same, you see it all the time, so I've got to prove to him that I'm worth keeping and I've got to fight, not just a contract, but also a place in the team.

"The gaffer is going to have people who played last season fresh in his mind and it's important for me in pre-season to show him that I am here and I am ready. I will be working very hard out of season and we will just see where that takes me.

"I can't wait to play in the Championship, I dreamt of it as a kid. With the injury and everything obviously I missed out on that, but everything happens for a reason, I felt tired through playing so many games last season then through the summer with Jamaica, but that's happened and I've had almost a season now to recover. I will be working hard through this extra work in the summer then hopefully I can get a full pre-season under my belt, which I didn't have last season.

"I'm excited to see where I could potentially be come the first game of the season, and that's what is motivating me and driving me along."

Despite the disappointment of the injury, the season ended on a positive note for Humphrey after he was named on the bench for the final game of the season against Leeds United, and he admitted that being involved in the squad again was a great feeling.  

"It was a big boost, it was a confidence boost to be honest and just felt like all of the hard work meant something so it was really good. The fans were really good with me as well which was nice to see and to hear.

"A lot of people were asking if I was gutted I didn't get on but I wasn't really, and the result proved the gaffer got the decision right because he brought Jordan on and he scored the equaliser so you can't complain at things like that.

"It was just nice to be involved, get the kit on again and be around the lads, going through the pre-match preparations that we do.

"After training on the Friday, the gaffer just told me to bring my boots you're in the squad. I didn't know I was going to be on the bench, everyone is potentially in the squad until he names the 18 before the game so I didn't know I was on the bench until he named the team on the day.

"He kept me waiting as well because he named my name last! It was nice, I did feel a bit sorry for Clive Smith because he's been around the squad and he would have probably had his sights set on being on the bench for the final game so I felt sorry for him but from my point of view it was great.

"There was a good reaction in the dressing room, everyone's a family in there and everyone was buzzing for me to be back on the bench, and I respected that. It just shows how much of a figure you are in the dressing room when people react like that and it shows you how close we all are when people are happy for you.

"At other clubs, sometimes people wouldn't be too happy that you were back because you took their place in the team or whatever, but here people are happy for each other."

After helping the team to promotion from League One, the former Motherwell man's first season in the Championship was cut short in October, with the trip to Sheffield Wednesday his final appearance of the campaign. Though he admits it has been frustrating, Chris has kept in high spirits throughout his recovery, with a determination to come back stronger than ever.

"It's been very frustrating but you can't dwell on  things, you've got to take it in your stride. I think the only time I was disappointed was when I first went with the physio Matt Jackson and they said I was going to miss the rest of the season.

"I went home after that and I was disappointed for a few days but it's come to a point where you have to think to yourself that it's happened but let's try and get back fit as quick as I can.

"My goal was always to try and make the last game of the season after my operation once I found out that I would miss the rest of the season. I always set goals, and my goal was to try and be involved or be involved in training somehow for that last game, then it's up to the gaffer after that.

"I was able to do that so I was happy with myself that I reached the goal that I set. I can't really complain, I'm not one of those that's had hundreds of injuries. I've had a couple like everyone else but I'm not really an injury prone person so hopefully that's the same from this point onward.

"It came from playing a lot of games and obviously wasn't helped by not really having a break last summer as well, but I've worked hard on my recovery and on my muscles and stuff to try and make sure that something like this doesn't happen again."

Humph also admitted than having teammate Jermaine Beckford alongside him throughout the majority of his recovery was a big help: "To be honest Becks has been a godsend, I was gutted for him because he wasn't playing and was injured, but he helped me massively and I would like to think I helped him get through his too.

"Just to see him fit and getting out on the pitch again kind of gave me an extra boost to go again and try even harder. He helped me through, we helped each other through and it was nice, we had a laugh and a joke with each other but also took it very seriously when we needed too."

And the thanks didn't end there from the wide-man: "I also have to say a massive thank you to Lewis Hinney, without him I don't think Becks and I would have had the added motivation. We were always motivated but sometimes when your head drops you've got to have that someone who encourages you to carry on, or he would change the training if it was getting repetitive. It's just the little things like that really, and he would get your through it and he's funny as well.

"He doesn't mean to be most of the time! Like when we are playing badminton and he hits the shuttlecock in his own face, just little laughs like that that get you through the day when you might be feeling a bit down, it's a massive thing. He basically did most of my rehab, and then Jacko got involved when he needed to, but Lewis was with me through the whole thing and I wanted to make sure he was recognised for his hard work.

"We have a lot of unsung heroes at the club, especially throughout this season as well, the kitmen Russ Rigby and Steve Wales have been fantastic. They can be grumpy and shout and ball but they are funny too and they do an amazing job. There's many times that we've come back from London at 3am and we are all driving home while they unload all the kit etc. They have played a big part, as has Tom Little the fitness coach, and Luke Hemmings, and these guys all played a massive part in my rehab and getting me back fit and I'm really grateful for them."

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