Fans to applaud locked-in player Gary Parkinson

Gary Parkinson Gary Parkinson has thanked fans for their support

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Fans will show their support for a former player who has locked-in syndrome when two of his old clubs play each other.

Gary Parkinson had a stroke in 2010 leading to the syndrome which left him unable to move, speak or swallow.

A minute's applause will be held during Middlesbrough's match with Blackpool on Saturday at the Riverside ground.

Supporters said it was to show the ex-player and his family they remained in their thoughts.

The idea, which is being backed by the club, was suggested by fans on the Fly Me To The Moon fanzine message board.

'Special time'

The applause will be held in the 25th minute because of the shirt numbers the player usually wore during his Middlesbrough days.

The 45-year-old's face will be shown on the stadium's big screen.

Fly Me To The Moon editor Robert Nichols said: "Gary played for the club during a special time in our history and will always be remembered for his role in Bruce Rioch's young Boro team that won successive promotions in the 1980s.

"We think this is a fitting tribute to him and will hopefully show him and his family they are still very much in the thoughts of all the teams he used to play for."

Mr Parkinson moved back into his specially adapted home in Bolton late last year after two years in hospital. He is able to communicate by blinking.

Earlier this month, he thanked fans for the the support he had received.

In an interview in Saturday's matchday programme, his wife Deborah said they had been overwhelmed by the level of support.

As well as Middlesbrough and Blackpool, he also played for Burnley and Preston North End.

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