RITCHIE Humphreys would not turn up for pre-season training if he did not think he could challenge for a first-team berth at Victoria Park.
The Pools legend, who turns 35 in November, penned a new one-year playing contract in May but will also continue in his role as a trusted member of Neale Cooper’s backroom team.
But Humphreys remains determined to make the most of his playing days and points to his 31 appearances last term as evidence of his worth to the Poolie cause.
“I’m under no illusion – I don’t expect to be starting week in, week out,” sounded the club captain today.
“But people can’t play to their best ability every week, people lose form or get injured or the manager might want to freshen things up.
“That’s what happened a lot last season and I played more than 30 times and thought I did okay.
“And I still think I can compete, without a doubt, I wouldn’t turn up if I thought I couldn’t.
“Players I’ve known have said that they just know what their body is telling them.
“But the condition I finished last season in was very good and I was delighted to get my new deal.
“I want to be part of what Neale is trying to do here and it’s an exciting time for us.”
SEE Wednesday’s Hartlepool Mail for full story