Consistency is PNE winger’s aim

Chris Humphrey in action during PNE's 4-0 win at Scunthorpe
Chris Humphrey in action during PNE's 4-0 win at Scunthorpe
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Preston North End winger Chris Humphrey wants to bring goals and consistency to his game this season.

The Jamaica international was in red-hot form as PNE hammered Scunthorpe 4-0 at the weekend.

He set up the opening two goals and then got his name on the scoresheet with North End’s third goal in the early moments of the second half.

That was just his fourth goal in the club’s colours and the 26-year-old is anxious for more.

It is a swift return to action for the Lilywhites tonight as they visit the Keepmoat Stadium to tackle Doncaster Rovers (7.45pm).

Presuming Humphrey keeps his place on the right-hand side of PNE’s attack – it would be a big surprise if he did not – he is determined to put on a similar show to the one he produced at Scunny.

Humphrey told the Evening Post: “When I came back for pre-season, one thing I sat down and spoke with Glynn Snodin about was wanting to score more goals.

“It was something which I had been thinking about since the end of last season.

“I know that I need to contribute more goals and I would like to think that the one at Scunthorpe was the first of a few.

“I scored three last season and that number needs to at least double.

“During Saturday’s game I felt really free and good about myself. I’ve not enjoyed a game as much as that for quite a while.

“The gaffer said I had a free role going forward but just to make sure I got into a good defensive position when we didn’t have the ball.

“He encouraged me to get on the ball and go into a few different areas.

“I could go out wide, come inside, get a bit more central, and it was nice to have that freedom.

“My performance pleased me but it was just one game, I’m not getting too hyped-up about it, not overly confident.

“I need to do that for 10 to 15 games and then I’ll be really happy.

“The consistency has to be there, it was there on Saturday but it needs to be a good performance every Saturday afternoon and Tuesday night.

“I’ve set the standard and it is up to me to keep on getting to that level on a regular basis.

“We go to Doncaster next and as a team we need to take what we did at Scunthorpe into that game.

“Doncaster are a decent side but what we have to focus on is doing our own job, make sure we are physically and mentally right.”

Humphrey admits that his fitness levels are better this season than last.

That is something which he credits new fitness coach Tom Little with.

“Tom worked us so hard in pre-season and has got us really fit,” said Humphrey.

“For three weeks I hated every minute of it and Tom wasn’t my favourite person in the world!

“But he has taken the fitness levels up and I felt really good on Saturday.

“I felt fitter than last season and that is down to Tom and the methods he has.

“He has done a lot of different things with us and the injury-prevention work.

“I’ve got to give him a lot of credit but it was hard work.”

Humphrey got his chance at the weekend because of an injury to Andy Little, who had started the first two games of the campaign.

Competition throughout the squad is strong, none more so on the wings where Humphrey plies his trade.

That will increase further when Kyel Reid returns from knee surgery next month.

Such competition has the potential to carry North End far, according to Humphrey. He said: “The squad is big enough to allow the gaffer to change things and keep us all fresh.

“We have got a great chance this season because of that depth – there are quality players waiting to come into the side.

“No player likes being rested but over the course of the season, a break every now and then won’t do any harm and the numbers and quality in the squad means the side can be changed when necessary.”

In addition to what will be hopefully be a promotion push with North End, Humphrey has international goals too this season.

This is a busy campaign for Jamaica, with friendlies and qualifiers dotting the fixture list over the coming months.

Humphrey has established himself in the Reggae Boyz squad recently, playing four friendly games at the end of last season.

Casting his eye over the coming months, he said: “We have got a friendly against Canada in September, then there is the Gold Cup in November – that is a 10-day tournament.

“At the end of the season there is the Copa America and then at the beginning of next season the World Cup qualifiers start for us.

“It is non-stop but is all part and parcel of football. The Copa America celebrates its 100th anniversary – if we win the Gold Cup in November you automatically quality 
for it.

“With it being the centenary and being held in the United States it would be a big thing for Jamaica to qualify.

“Hopefully I can be part of all that.”