CHRIS LUCKETTI has 675 matches and three promotions under his belt.
But 19 years on from his senior bow for hometown club Rochdale, the centre-back remains as hungry for success as ever.
That’s why manager Stan Ternent ignored his age – Lucketti will be 37 next month – by first bringing him back for a second spell at Town, then installing him as captain for the eagerly-awaited centenary campaign.
It’s a job Lucketti is looking forward to, and one which has cemented his decision to depart Sheffield United, and turn down offers from other Championship clubs, to join the new-look Galpharm set-up.
“Being skipper is a job I’ve had at other clubs and one I enjoy,” said Lucketti, who wore the armband during his first spell at Town, from June 1999 until August 2001.
“It was a big plus for me when the gaffer put that responsibility on my shoulders.”
It’s not the first time Ternent has put Lucketti in charge out on the pitch.
It happened at Bury, where Town’s manager worked wonders by guiding the Shakers to successive promotions from Leagues I and II in 1996 and 97.
While Ternent moved to Burnley, where he repeated his promotion successes, Lucketti’s reputation was such that Town splashed out £750,000 for his services.
Now the pair have been reunited, and Lucketti, who has also served Stockport, Halifax, Preston and Southampton (on loan), is more than happy.
“Being back at Huddersfield and playing under the gaffer again is a great combination for me,” he explained.
“There weren’t too many clubs who could have persuaded me to drop down to League I, but this was one.
“The gaffer has shown faith in me, and I’ll be going out to repay it by doing everything I can to help bring the success everyone wants.
“Yes, expectation levels are high, and selling 16,000-plus season-tickets brings a certain pressure, but it’s a good pressure and something that should be embraced.
“The atmosphere at home games is going to be excellent, and if we can make a good start, the crowds should grow even further.
“My job will be to lead by example and help the other players, especially the younger ones, who are around me.”
Lucketti is looking forward to linking up with fans favourite Andy Booth once again, and is convinced his fellow thirtysomething still has what it takes to trouble opposition defenders.
“I was still here when Lou Macari brought Boothy back from Sheffield Wednesday, and I remember his first match back against Portsmouth,” he recalled.
“He was awesome, and scored a great goal to help us win 4-1, and you can see in training that he still has that power, especially in the air.
“Boothy will be a handful this season, believe me, and he’s also a great character within the club.”
Lucketti has also been impressed by the development of homegrown players like Nathan Clarke, Jon Worthington and Andy Holdsworth.
“They were all trainees when I was first here, and it’s great to see how they have matured, developing as people as well as professionals,” he said
With a string of new players thrown into the mix, the captain is confident Town have what it takes to push for promotion.
“Pre-season training has gone well – it’s never easy, but it’s important to work through it in order to provide a base of fitness for the season ahead – and now we’re all looking forward to things getting under way for real.”