Spireite Humphreys wouldn’t change festive commitments for the world

Chesterfield FC
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For Ritchie Humphreys, the Christmas period means one thing: training and matches.

For the Chesterfield veteran, now aged 38, it’s been that way for two decades - and he admits he wouldn’t change a thing.

“Christmas as a footballer has always been the same for me,” the former Sheffield Wednesday and Hartlepool man said.

“I have been doing it since I was 16 and it’s about training and matches. There are sacrifices to be made of course, but I wouldn’t change any of the sacrifices I’ve made because it means I have been in the game for 20 years, the game I absolutely love.

“I have children who will be up on Christmas morning opening their presents but this is our life and I wouldn’t change it.

“It’s about preparing for Boxing Day now.”

Spireites travel to Peterborough on Boxing Day, looking to avoid a seventh straight league defeat - something not experienced by any Spireites team since 1988.

Humphreys made his first appearance since September in Saturday’s defeat against Bradford City, replacing Drew Talbot at half time.

His previous outing for the Spireites, on September 5, against Wigan, fell four days short of the 20th anniversary of his first-team debut for Wednesday against QPR.

So the Chairman of the PFA can now proudly claim a rarity of having a 20-year first team career.

But how does he deal with being out of the first-team picture for so long? “I always tell the lads who have been out of the team that they have to stay on top of their game as much as they can,” he said.

“You don’t know when you are going to be called upon.

“I was called upon on Saturday and I enjoyed being on the pitch, but like any other game I have ever played, if I’ve lost it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just so disappointing.”

Lee Novak could be available again for Peterborough after missing the Bantams defeat, but Talbot and Richard Wood look unlikely to be fit.