‘I wish I’d brought him on earlier in the season,’ says Caldwell of 39-year-old substitute

Picture Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, EFL Sky Bet League One, Sheffield United v Chesterfield Town, Bramall Lane, 30/04/17, K.O 12pm

Chesterfield's Ritchie Humphreys has a shot on goal 

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Picture Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, EFL Sky Bet League One, Sheffield United v Chesterfield Town, Bramall Lane, 30/04/17, K.O 12pm Chesterfield's Ritchie Humphreys has a shot on goal Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594
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Ritchie Humphreys is the perfect example for young footballers to follow, according to Spireites boss Gary Caldwell.

Caldwell handed the 39-year-old player-coach what could turn out to be his last action as a professional player at Bramall Lane in the final game of the League One season.

And although Chesterfield haven’t offered Humphreys a playing contract for next season, Caldwell hopes to retain his coaching services.

The Sheffield United match almost gave Humphreys the dream end to his 22-year career as a player.

He replaced 17-year-old Joe Rowley and was straight into the action, chipping at goal with Simon Moore well off his line but watching on in agony as the ball cleared the crossbar.

Boyhood Blades supporter Humphreys, who took his kids onto the pitch at full-time, admitted it was a lifelong ambition to score at the Kop end of Bramall Lane and a goal would have been an emotional moment.

But his cameo was impressive in itself, given his age and the fact that it was his only first team appearance since back in November.

Caldwell quipped that he could done with Humphreys in that form before the end of the campaign.

“I wish I’d brought him on earlier in the season if I’m being honest,” he said.

“He was magnificent and I’ve said to the players if you want an example of how to handle yourself as a footballer, how you work, we have that every day in Ritchie Humphreys.

“It was actually him that when I discussed bringing him on, he said about going up front, so not only did he come on and play as well as he did, he actually told me where he was coming on.

“If the goal goes in it’s a fairy-tale, but he’s been a fantastic player throughout his career and he showed that.”

For Humphreys to continue in his role as PFA chairman, he will need to bee registered as a player next season – something that doesn’t appear to be an option at the Proact, where he was among the list of players who won’t be offered new deals.

But Caldwell appears keen to keep the former Sheffield Wednesday man among his staff as Chesterfield attempt to rebuild for a League Two promotion push.

“I think anybody at any club would want to have Ritchie Humphries in their backroom staff, so it’s something we’ll discuss,” he added.