LOAN man Chris Humphrey is back at Bury after playing through the pain for Barrow AFC.

Bluebirds manager Ady Pennock revealed the 30-year-old Jamaican international winger has been having issues with a bone graft on his shin, the result of an injury picked up several years ago.

Humphrey arrived at Holker Street last month until the end of the season, but has made just two starts and two substitute appearances in the National League survival fight.

Since making his debut in the FA Trophy second round tie at Brackley Town, the former Preston North End and Hibernian wide man has been an irregular presence in Pennock's side, making his last showing from the bench in the 1-0 win at Maidstone United on February 17.

That outing on the 3G pitch at the Gallagher Stadium proved the final straw for Humphrey, with the experienced player now back with his parent club and hoping to find out what is causing his issues – with the potential he will not be back at AFC before the season ends.

“He's has problems with his shin – four or five years ago, he had a bone graft, and since he has been here, he has never been comfortable,” said Pennock.

“He has been playing with pain-killers, and the Maidstone game really knocked it on the head. He felt it a lot, with it being on the artificial turf as well.

“He has been training with pain and he has been playing with pain, and he has not been the same Chris that I know and that Grant (Holt, the AFC player/coach who played alongside Humphrey at Hibernian last season) knows. Grant knows him very well, and especially after the Torquay game, I said to him that Chris wasn't right.

“But Chris being Chris, he has wanted to battle through, saying it will be all-right, it will be okay. It came to a head after the Maidstone game, because he was in constant pain.

“He's gone back to Bury, and he's going to have a scan to see how his bone graft is, because we think that's where the problem is.

“He won't be ready in the near future, and it's the bigger picture for Chris – he has to think of his career, more than just a loan spell at Barrow. He's got to think of himself and his young family.

“It might be that he goes back and they say a little bit of rest and a little bit of treatment will make him okay, and he will be back with us. But we've just got to play it be ear.”

Humphrey is one of five players on loan at Barrow, with Ollie Cook (Southampton), Kingsley James (Chester), Luke James (Forest Green Rovers) and Calum Macdonald (Derby County) all also on board for the rest of the campaign.

Pennock would be reluctant to bring in more – repeating the issue from last season, when then-boss Paul Cox had more than the five he could include in any one match-day squad – though should Humphrey not be able to return, he would look for a new recruit.

“If I go to six, seven or eight loans, then I have to phone up the parent clubs and say 'sorry' that three of those players can't be involved because we have five loans involved in the squad for the game,” said the Barrow manager. “I've got to think about us and about the relationships with those parent clubs, because they won't be happy about that.

“With Chris going back, we've just got to see how it goes. If he's not going to be ready, then I most probably would dip into the loan market again.”