Campbell-Ryce happy with form, open to talks with the Spireites
The last time Jamal Campbell-Ryce wore the colours of Chesterfield FC against Bradford City, he set up the winner in a dramatic comeback.
On loan from Charlton at the time, the winger helped the Spireites come from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
Twelve years later he’s back with Chesterfield, on loan from Sheffield United this time, and preparing to take on the Bantams again.
In his own words, he’s not as ‘electric’ as he once was, but he’s still full of tricks – and having played a part in securing survival for the Spireites, he’s full of confidence.
“In terms of enjoyment that has been there in abundance,” he said of a loan spell that began midway through March.
“I came in four or five weeks ago, the club was in a difficult position, floating around the relegation zone.
“The manager has brought me in to help the club out and it’s great that I’ve been able to have a hand in securing League One football next season.”
The former Jamaican made an instant impact as he began his second spell as a Spireite, grabbing the equaliser against Scunthorpe within 60 seconds of his introduction.
That goal was scored before he’d even really hit his stride.
He said: “I’ve been happy with my form.
“Sometimes when you come in on loan and haven’t played as many games as you would want, your match fitness can go and it took me a couple of games.
“The manager and staff have been terrific with me, they’ve managed me the right way and I feel like I’ve made a positive contribution.
“I’m still quick and have my pace, but I’m not as electric as I was four or five years ago, but I like to believe I can understand the game a bit more and my game management is better.”
He and fellow wide player Gboly Ariyibi were instrumental in securing the victory that staved off the threat of relegation once and for all last Saturday against Bury.
The 33-year-old admits the mood has lightened at the Proact.
“It’s been fantastic this week, everyone wants to play for promotion or the play-offs, but we’ve achieved something different,” he said.
“The club has had a difficult season and that just happens sometimes.
“Look at Chelsea in the first half of the season, looking over their shoulder, it happens.
“We’ve had to rally together. Plenty of teams wouldn’t have thought they’d be in the positions they find themselves in, like Doncaster for example.
“We’ve shown great character and team spirit and belief.”
A dozen years since he whipped in the cross that led to Caleb Folan’s winner at Valley Parade, he’s out to thrill the fans once again.
After that, the future is up in the air – his contract at Bramall Lane expires in the summer and he’s not ruling out becoming a Spireite on a permanent basis.
“It would be nice to go out on a high, but we’ve achieved what we need to. We want to win the game but it’s about enjoyment, playing relaxed and hopefully putting on a show for the fans.
“I’m open (to talks), you never know. If there’s a conversation to be had with the manager and the club that would be fantastic.
“I’m waiting to hear, let’s just see what happens.”