Preston North End hero Brett Ormerod has been putting in plenty of hard work at the gym in readiness for his final goodbye to the fans today.
Ormerod will be the centre of attention at his testimonial match at AFC Fylde’s new ground at Mill Farm.
Ormerod, who made Blackpool FC history by scoring for them in all four divisions of the English league, will see a Tanagerine All-Stars take on a side assembled by Coasters’ manager Dave Challinor.
Part of the proceeds for the day will go towards a fund set up to help former North End and Blackpool player Gary Parkinson, who has been seriously incapacitated by the illness ‘locked-in syndrome’ following a serious stroke.
Ormerod finally retired from the game at the end of last year at the age of 39 after a distinguished, successful career that saw him make 62 appearances for the Deepdale club between 2006 and 2009.
He said: “I haven’t kicked a ball since last Christmas, and I have been on the tread-mill for the last two weeks, trying to get fit for Sunday.
“I can’t promise that I will last the full 90 minutes, but I will certainly be getting my boots on again.”
Among those supporting Ormerod’s big day are the likes of Matt Gilks, Paul Rachubka, Stephen Crainey, John Hills, Barry Shuttleworth, Ian Evatt, Danny Coid, Alex Baptiste, Charlie Adam, David Vaughan, Jamie Milligan, Keith Southern, Phil Clarkson, Billy Clarke, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and John Murphy.
Steve Thompson, formerly a coach at Blackpool and now working with Simon Grayson at Preston, will oversee tactics from the touchline for the Seasiders’ All-Stars.
Not all of the assembled Blackpool glitterati will play as some of that illustrious number are still playing competitive football and managers are loathe to risk them in a testimonial match, but Ormerod says he hopes there will be the odd cameo.
And there is a possibility that Parkinson himself will be there with his family to support the venture.
Ormerod said: “There is a chance Gary will be at the match and it would be nice if that happened.
“I knew Gary as a player and a coach at Blackpool and he was always the life and soul of everything.
“It is sad what has happened to him and hopefully he will be able to be there on Sunday.
“If not, we will still be able to support his fund.
“What happened to Gary can happen to anyone.”
Ormerod finished his playing days in non-league football, including a spell at Bamber Bridge FC and now that he has retired from the game he says he is busier than ever.
He said: “I am involved in a gym franchise and I am also doing work as a pundit with Radio Lancashire.
“I have three kids that keep me busy – there are loads of things to do and I am certainly not ready yet for the rocking-chair and the pipe-and-slippers!”
Kick-off is 3pm