Humey: In Cod we trust

Iain Hume
Iain Hume
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Dave Seddon’s press view

I doubt that Iain Hume ever envisaged so many twists and turns weaving their way into his time at Preston.

The striker headed for the Lancashire coast this week to join Fleetwood Town on loan until the end of the season.

We might see him back in a Lilywhites’ shirt before the season is out, we might not.

That will depend on how North End’s campaign pans out and whether he is needed back as cover once the initial 28 days of his loan have passed.

But with his contract up in the summer, it seems certain that permanent farewells will be said before too long.

I like Hume as both a player and a person, his interviews lively and always well beyond the standard PFA-coached words of wisdom.

One post-match chat we had in the aftermath of Keith Treacy’s sale to Burnley cost him a few quid in fines.

He certainly didn’t hold his tongue that day, much to the disapproval of the chairman of the time!

It was third time lucky when North End landed him in September 2010, initially on loan from Barnsley.

Billy Davies and Alan Irvine had both tried for him but it was Darren Ferguson who finally succeeded.

While the 2010/11 season was to end in relegation, it was that campaign – and the first few weeks of the following one – when we saw the best of Hume.

I remember vividly the night when he and Jon Parkin tore Leeds apart in Preston’s 6-4 win at Elland Road. Simon Grayson probably does too – he was Leeds manager at the time!

Hume and Parkin will now resume their partnership at the Cod Army.

That season, Hume found the net 12 times for Preston as the manager’s baton passed from Fergie Jnr into the tanned hands of Phil Brown.

Another game which sticks out from that season was the 2-1 win over Swansea, both goals coming from Hume.

Brendan Rodgers took the Swans up to the Premier League a few weeks later and North End tumbled down to League One.

That sunny April afternoon, there was little to suggest the two-division gulf which was about to open up.

Six goals from Hume in the opening few weeks of the 2011/12 season helped offer hope of a swift route back into the Championship.

But knee ligament damage sustained in a 3-1 defeat at Huddersfield, coupled with injuries around the same time to Neil Mellor and Jamie Proctor, was to kibosh the early-season optimism.

Preston supporters have not seen the best of Hume since that injury absence.

He and Graham Westley had little time for each other, that culminating in the ridiculous idea of exiling him – and others – to a Rossendale gym for pre-season ahead of the 2012/13 campaign.

Off he went to Doncaster on loan for last season and came back a medal-winner...ironic in the circumstances.

I didn’t think we would see Hume back last summer, and it was just as big a surprise to the lad himself when during 
pre-season he was told he was back in the frame.

That news was announced on the same day Kevin Davies signed.

Hands up who envisaged a Davies/Hume forward partnership? Me too.

For a while we had a Davies-Stuart Beavon-Hume triangle up top.

Then Joe Garner emerged from his shell and began scoring goals for fun.

With Craig Davies arriving at the end of the January window, opportunities for Hume have further diminished.

And as he has missed out on the 18-man squad for four of the last five games, Thursday’s switch to Fleetwood was a sensible move all round.

Should Hume be needed back at any stage beyond the first 28 days, he would return with the sharpness which a run of games delivers.

If his services are not required here, then Graham Alexander is able to keep hold of a player who is well beyond the standard of League Two. Hume’s exit, even if only temporary for now, shows the short-term nature of football beyond the riches of the Premier League.

He is North End’s second longest-serving player, emphasising the high turnover at Deepdale in recent seasons.

Bailey Wright – at the grand old age of 21 – is the elder statesman in terms of service given to the Preston cause.

Congratulations to him on making his 100th appearance in club colours against Sheffield United last Monday night. I recall his debut at Stockport in the League Cup in August 2010.

With Craig Morgan away on international duty, Wright was one of three youngsters vying for the vacancy in the centre of the defence that night.

He got the nod and the rest, as they say, is history.

Wright might be well known among PNE fans but is clearly not someone who Geoff Elthringham recognises – Monday night’s referee mistook Joe Garner for him…and booked him!