Joe Garner really stole the headlines during Preston’s time in League One, but many others played key roles in getting North End promoted.
Garner may have been the leading goalscorer, but Tom Clarke and Paul Huntington were rocks at the back, John Welsh was a real battler in midfield and Paul Gallagher brought creativity.
Down the right flank, North End had Chris Humphrey. The Jamaican was one of Simon Grayson’s first signings as Preston boss in 2013, landing him on a free transfer.
Humphrey was signed as a winger, but also filled in as a right-sided wing back at times, with Grayson making the most of Humphrey’s outstanding work rate and commitment to defending.
Humphrey may have only scored eight times in 133 games for North End, but he also chipped in with 20 assists, and was one of the unsung heroes in the 2014-15 promotion campaign.
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His time at Deepdale came to an end in December 2016, as his contract was terminated in order to allow him to return to Scotland with Hibernian.
Humphrey moved into management with Gretna 2008 last year, but was sacked in November, and has since turned out for Kelty Hearts.
The 32-year-old has now spoken to Banks and Black about his career, and admitted that Ally McCoist was pushing for him to sign for Rangers – but he picked Preston instead.
Rangers had been demoted to Scottish League Two at that point, and Humphrey was just a year removed from playing in the Champions League qualifiers with Motherwell, so wanted to take a step forward with Preston rather than a step back by heading to Ibrox.
“It’s where people are in their career,” said Humphrey. “I could have gone to Rangers. Ally McCoist was ringing me before I went to Preston, and I could have gone, but I didn’t want to go and play in League Two. They were offering unbelievable money, but I didn’t want money. I wanted to do something with my career, I was only 25. Money wasn’t a priority to me, I wanted to go and win things, I wanted to get a promotion, which was the next thing that I really wanted to do, and that’s the reason why, at the time, I went to Preston, because I felt that I’d done everything at Motherwell.”
“I’m so happy I did it, it was the best thing I ever did, as in the next move for me, because I went on and got a promotion into the Championship and played in the Championship in England, which is something that I always wanted to do. For me to go down to League Two to play, when I’ve just played in the Champions League, what was the point in that for me?” he added.