CHORLEY-born manager Phil Parkinson leads Bradford City out at Wembley in the League Cup final tomorrow, aiming to complete a fairytale run for the League Two side.
For Parkinson it could be the highlight of a managerial career that has already seen him take charge of Colchester, Hull and Charlton.
Born in Chorley, the 45-year-old moved south at an early age because of his father’s business commitments with a coach company, before relocating again to Stockton in Teesside.
From there he followed the likes of Alan Shearer and former Burnley defender Steve Davis by moving into professional football with Southampton.
He would be better known for his spells with Bury and Reading before moving into management with Colchester, where he was the boss of the side that ended Accrington Stanley famous FA Cup run in 2004.
After spells in charge of Hull and Charlton, he has been manager of League Two Bradford since 2011 and has taken the Bantams to the League Cup final against all odds.
Premier League Swansea are the favourites but, having already beaten Arsenal, Aston Villa and Wigan, Parkinson is eyeing yet another upset.
Victory would give Bradford their first major trophy since they won the FA Cup in 1911, and also incredibly earn them a place in next year’s Europa League.
The West Yorkshire side also still have their sights set on promotion to League One but Parkinson said: “If someone said to us we could win the cup or go up, we’d have to take winning the cup.
“For a League Two club to win the cup, we’ve made history so far, but that would be truly amazing if we could pull it off.”
Former Burnley striker Andy Gray is cup tied after recently joining Bradford, while ex-Chorley defender Steve Williams has not featured for the first team this season.
But former Clarets loanee Nathan Dyer could play for Swansea and Zavon Hines, who left Turf Moor in the summer, is likely to be involved for the Bantams.
“It was a big drop coming down to League Two but it has helped my career,” Hines said.