Iain Hume has bid a final farewell to Preston North End by backing them to launch a sustained promotion push next season.
The striker was yesterday released by PNE, together with Shane Cansdell-Sherriff.
Hume’s stay at Deepdale stretches back to September 2010 but was punctuated by loan spells with Doncaster and Fleetwood.
He won promotion with both of them, helping Donny to the League One title 12 months ago and then featuring in Fleetwood’s League Two play-off success this week.
His departure, and that of Cansdell-Sherriff – the Aussie signed a two-year deal with Burton yesterday – takes the number of players released by North End since the end of the season to eight.
Hume told the Evening Post: “I have no ill feelings towards Preston and I genuinely think they will be pushing for promotion next season.
“There is no reason why they won’t be there or thereabouts because they are a good group of lads – there is not a bad apple among them.
“The squad will be added to over the summer and I think they will have a right go.
“It wasn’t for the want of trying that they just fell short this time.
“They know what level they need to reach next time.”
Being released is a whole new experience for Hume and, as yet, he does not have a new club lined up for next season.
However, it was not a shock to be freed by North End with his contract in its final weeks.
Said Hume: “I pretty much knew that I wouldn’t be coming back to Preston.
“I haven’t really thought about what I will do next. I’ll have a couple of weeks with my family and then have a look at what comes up.
“This is the first time in my career that I have been released. To have gone 14 years and reached the age of 30 without having been out of contract isn’t too bad.”
Hume first joined PNE from Barnsley on loan in September 2010, with the deal made permanent the following January.
In the 2010/11 season he scored 12 goals as North End were relegated. The next campaign saw Hume in good goalscoring form but a knee injury in October 2011 saw things begin to unravel.
Said Hume: “There have been ups and downs for me here – but mainly ups.
“When Darren Ferguson signed me I thought I did well and then after Phil Brown came in we fought until the end to avoid relegation but just fell a bit short.
“The start of the following season was probably my most enjoyable time. Neil Mellor, Jamie Proctor and myself scored a lot of goals before we all got injured within a fortnight of each other.
“Things changed when Phil lost his job and I was deemed surplus to requirements by the next manager.
“It was nice to come back last summer with the gaffer wanting to keep me.
“Things didn’t quite work out but I couldn’t complain because of what Joe Garner was doing.
“I got the chance to go to Fleetwood on loan and on Monday that led me to playing at Wembley for the first time in my career.”