Carl McHugh has been selected as one of the Bradford City players who will help in raising funds for the Bradford Burns Research Unit in the build up to the Capital One League Cup final.
The Lettermacaward native has been one of the stars as the Bantams created history by reaching the final, overcoming the likes of Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa in the semi-final.
McHugh and his Bradford side are now preparing for their big day out in Wembley on Sunday week, 24th, where they will face Swansea City.
In the build up to the final, a local life-long Bradford City fan is aiming to score for the club and the burns unit by selling specially-made masks of the players and joint chairman.
John Barker, 59, who has not missed a Bantams game in nearly 30 years, will be heading to Wembley with a party of family and friends and hopes to see thousands of supporters wearing the masks as they cheer on the team.
Mr Barker, who runs a print company with his wife Frances, has used local companies to produce the masks, which feature players Matt Duke, captain Gary Jones, James Hanson, Carl McHugh and Nahki Wells, as well as joint chairman Mark Lawn.
The couple had approved sales stands at Valley Parade for Saturday’s game against Gillingham and with other sales venues planned they are hoping to raise thousands of pounds for the Bradford Burns Research Unit and the football club.
The masks are on offer at £1.50 for one or £5 for the nap hand.
Mr Barker began watching City when his sons Matthew and Sean were small, shortly after the Valley Parade fire disaster which claimed the life of one of his neighbours.
He said: “We wanted to do some official merchandising to raise money for the club and the burns unit and we came up with the idea of the masks. We have the blessing of the club and Mark Lawn, who has been the face of the Cup run, and has been supportive.
“Family and friends chose the five players, but if there is a demand we can produce masks for every player.
“We have done thousands of them already and I hope to see our fans in James Hanson and Nahki Wells masks behind Matt Duke’s goal for the inevitable penalty shoot-out in the final.”
Mr Barker, whose three grandchildren have even been involved in promoting the masks, added: “This final is the biggest and most amazing experience I have ever seen as a Bradford City supporter, because we didn’t expect it to happen. I think our name is on the cup and I think we will win on penalties, and I hope the masks help the team.”
The build-up to the big game at Wembley on Sunday week is gaining pace in Donegal as well with the local community in Lettermacaward holding an “Up for the Match” in McCready’s on Friday night starting at 9 p.m. Guest panellists on the night will include his schoolboy soccer friends Paddy McBrearty and Brian McGroary as well as Declan Bonner, Pat Ward, Pat Boyle and his dad, Gerry McHugh.
The 19-year-old McHugh is living the dream at the moment, having been drafted into the Irish U-21 side recently and the Capital One League Cup final will put him in the window to further his career. He has been playing a starring role at the centre of the Bradford City defence and on Sunday 24th he will be pitting his wits against one of the newest strike sensations in the English Premiership, Michu of Swansea City.
But having come through with flying colours against the best that Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa had to offer, Bradford will have no worries about Carl on Wembley soil.