"Huge welcome" due for Tony Hopper on Carlisle United appearance

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Carlisle United say they are looking forward to welcoming "one of our own" back to Brunton Park tomorrow when Tony Hopper makes an emotional appearance.

The former Blues midfielder and his family are guests of honour at United's big League Two game against Portsmouth.

The gesture from United follows Hopper's diagnosis with bulbar-onset motor neurone disease.

His three sons, Daniel, Adam and Jack will be mascots, while Hopper will perform the half-time draw.

United plan to donate 50p from the sale of every match programme to the Hoppers' fightback fund for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, as well as the club's official charity partners.

Bucket collections will also be around Brunton Park, raising money for the fightback fund and the family's "Creating Hoppy Memories" appeal.

On the eve of his appearance, United have paid tribute to Hopper, who came through the youth ranks at the club in the 1990s and made more than 150 appearances for the Blues.

Carlisle chairman Andrew Jenkins said: "We are very much looking forward to hosting Tony and his family this weekend and we hope they all enjoy their day with us.

"I knew Tony's father well, a very good footballer, and it was no surprise to me when Tony came through as one of our youth products.

"He went on to play his part in a very successful period for the club and is well liked and respected by everyone at the club.

"I'm sure everyone will he delighted to see his boys carry out their mascot duties and I have no doubt he will receive a huge welcome onto the pitch at half time.

"There is a lot of fundraising activity on the day and we ask fans to give as generously as they can to help Tony and his family raise cash for much needed research into motor neurone disease."

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