After almost a year on the sidelines Chris Humphrey has returned to action and played an integral part of the Lilywhites side just before the international break.
Deployed in his now familiar wing back role, he has been effective at both ends of the pitch and sat down with The One And Only during the international break to reflect on his return to the fold.
“It has been really enjoyable to be back,” the No.7 told the matchday programme. “It was also good to get away to Ireland with all the lads; being in the apartments in threes; we were all close and we had a lot of banter flowing. It was a lot of fun and we also got a lot of hard work done over there and it has put us in good stead – me especially.
“I have missed two pre-seasons, the first away with Jamaica and the last one as well, so it was nice to get some hard work into my legs. I am not going to lie, it was hard, and I did struggle all the way through, but these last two games I have felt comfortable, so it really has benefitted me.
“The extra work I did during the summer showed that you have to work before you come back for pre-season. If I hadn’t worked on it I don’t think I would be where I am now fitness wise and I definitely wouldn’t have got through pre-season. I struggled through it anyway, just with muscle ache and things like that, because I hadn’t done anything last season, but when that finally went and games started coming thick and fast, whenever I came on I felt good and when I have played these last two games I have felt great.
“I know my fitness is there – maybe I could be fitter, but everyone can be fitter. I will be trying to get Tom [Little, fitness coach] to get me some extra fitness, but that has been hard so far with two games a week, so we will speak when the games start calming down.
“At the minute I am just really enjoying football. It is nice to be back playing again and I take things as they come.
“It has been excellent just being back on the pitch playing football again and enjoying it as well. It has been great. I can’t wait for every game at the moment and whether I play or not it is nice to have that winning feeling once again. Everyone is excited and happy and can’t wait for the next game and that’s how it should be. It was like that last season; obviously I wasn’t involved, but I went to a lot of games and that feeling of winning and doing well was great and we seem to have got that back in the last few games, which is brilliant.
“If there is a time to lose games, you’d rather do it right at the beginning. I looked at the table after the Queens Park Rangers game and suddenly it didn’t look as bad as it did after the first three games. If you can go on a winning streak you can suddenly shoot right up the league into the Play-Off spots or higher.
“The gaffer has been great in that even after three losses there was no panic. There has been no ‘oh my God, what do we do?’ or anything like that; he has kept the boys grounded and kept us focused on the next game. To lose three on the bounce and then to go to QPR away and win comfortably is a credit to the way he has set us up and way he has gone about things. That fun factor after winning is back and we took that into the cup game; it has been great.”
You can read a lot more from the North End No.7 along with content with Ian Bryson, Greg Cunningham, Chris Maxwell, Jordan Hugill, Daniel Johnson and Eoin Doyle in Saturday’s jam-packed 100 page edition of The One And Only, which will be on sale from Friday afternoon from the Sir Tom Finney Stand ticket office or from sellers inside and outside the ground on matchday.