Workington Reds stalwart Gari Rowntree admitted the team’s clash with Dunston at Borough Park will be “emotional” as he gets set to say goodbye to the club after nearly 500 games this afternoon.

After 425 starts for Workington, another 59 appearances from the bench, 160 games as skipper and seven goals, Rowntree is hanging up his boots and stepping away from football after Reds’ game against the NPL North West Division’s 16th-placed side (3pm kick-off).

Speaking to the club’s website, Rowntree said: “It’ll be brilliant.

“One last time, and I might be a bit emotional but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it and do it as best that I can for the club.

“Hopefully, there’ll be a good crowd down and a lot of family and friends will be there watching us sign off.

It’s been a major part of my life since I was 20 to be honest.

“I haven’t known anything else so I’ve been involved in the club throughout every year but it was a big decision for me to step away.

“I’ve had a few sleepless nights over it.

“I just feel as if, when I play, I like to do everything at a certain standard and at the moment, I don’t feel like I can.

“That has made my mind up really.”

Reds head into this afternoon’s Boxing Day clash hoping that a bumper crowd will venture down to bid farewell to the popular defender.

But he does not intend to be a stranger to the ground and pledged to come down and support his friends and team-mates over the rest of the campaign to roar them on to what he hopes will be promotion.

“I’ll be down to watch and things, definitely,” he added.

“I’ll still keep in touch with Ruddy, Danny, and the others but I just feel now’s the right time to step away.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time and I’m proud of what I’ve done, the appearances I’ve had and the friends that I’ve made – it’s been brilliant.”

Reds will be looking to record a fifth successive win in all competitions today and maintain their unbeaten home league record.

They have dropped just four points at home so far this season and scored four goals in each of their last three league games, but Dunston are coming into the fixture on a good run of form themselves having won four of their last six games in all competitions and scoring 14 goals in the process.

Manager Danny Grainger’s options will be boosted by the return of left back Liam Brockbank, who will come back into contention for today’s game after travelling with the England under-21 Futsal team.

David Symington should also be available again after missing out at the weekend.