Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Former Sheffield United player Ricky Holmes gets career back on track after retirement u-turn

Former Sheffield United winger Ricky Holmes is getting his career back on track, months after announcing plans to retire.

Holmes left Bramall Lane this summer when his contract expired, playing just five times during two-and-a-half years in South Yorkshire.

The 33-year-old had won the League Two title at Northampton Town under Chris Wilder before moving to Charlton Athletic.

But Wilder always kept tabs on Holmes and eventually signed him in January 2018.

Unfortunately for the attacker, by then the rise of the Blades had effectively bypassed him. 18 months later they were in the Premier League and Holmes had been left behind.

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He spent time on loan with both Oxford United and Gillingham, but both spells were interrupted by an ongoing back injury.

Holmes had surgery and spent 2019/20 recovering at United. But when the issue emerged again he decided enough was enough and planned to retire this summer.

Ricky Holmes return after Sheffield United exit

Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Yet it wasn’t the last football had seen of Holmes. His old club Northampton offered the forward a short-term, appearance-based contract in November.

Holmes has since played six times for the League One club, including four starts in their last five games.

His current deal expires on January 2, but he wants to extend his stay with the Cobblers well beyond that.

“I’d love to stay,” Holmes told The Northampton Chronicle. “I’ve always loved it here. I have a great relationship with the club, from the fans to the staff, and nothing has changed since I left so long may it continue.

“Hopefully we can sit down in a week or two and sort something out because I’ve proved I’m fit. I’ve started games and I’ve not missed a session of training so hopefully I can stay for a couple more… years. Not months, let’s say years!”

While it never quite worked out for Holmes with the Blades, most fans would be pleased to see him getting his career back on track.

He didn’t turn professional until he was 22, having previously worked on building sites. It was there that Holmes first injured his back.

Wilder will always be a fan, with the former Barnet and Portsmouth man spending 18 months under his management.

Holmes scored 16 goals in 53 appearances during that time, before he left for Charlton and Wilder departed for Bramall Lane.

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