Fans heading to Holker Street tomorrow will be the last to see Ian Evatt with his boots on, as the Barrow AFC manager will be making one final appearance as a player towards the end of his side's pre-season friendly against Blackpool.

Evatt agreed to his cameo role against his old club - the match has been dubbed the ‘Ian Evatt derby’ - after a petition from the Bluebirds’ Twitter account achieved the 1,000 retweets needed back in May.

First and foremost, the match against the League One side is another chance for AFC to build up their fitness and performances, and they should go into it with their confidence boosted after their impressive display in Tuesday’ night’s 2-0 win against Morecambe.

Evatt previously took part in the Bluebirds Trust’s five-a-side competition last month, although the former centre-back will have a bit more ground to cover when he takes to the field against the Seasiders.

Evatt said: “I’ve been told that I’ve got to play five minutes - I’ve never officially retired, but after Saturday I will be officially retired.

“I’ve had to work very, very hard to get into some kind of shape to play football again. I am excited and I’m looking for it, but after Saturday the boots are being hung up and they’re staying hung up.

“That tournament with the Bluebirds Trust was a bit of a fitness exercise. My knees and hips aren’t ready and built anymore to cope with the rigours of professional football and I love my coaching an management too much now to give it back.

“That’s my job now, but on Saturday, for five minutes I’ll come on, show you a bit of quality and that will be it then.”

Evatt is still held in great affection by Blackpool, where he made 251 appearances in seven seasons between 2006 and 2013, during which he helped them rise from League One into the Premier League.

After their relegation from the top flight in 2011, the Seasiders fell into a sharp decline under former owner Owen Oyston, who was finally ousted from power earlier in the year and Evatt is thrilled his old club can look ahead with a sense of optimism now.

He said: “That massive cloud has gone away from Bloomfield Road again and I’m excited for their players to see the support that they’re going to get because that club is a fantastic football club.

“When those fans get Bloomfield Road rocking, it is a difficult place to go and play.

“It’s so exciting to see and their lads will be really excited and love playing for that club again.”