RECORD sales of pop idol Gareth Gates debut single are expected at an Otley store next week.

Woolworths in Kirkgate is opening an hour early at 8am on Monday to cope with the expected rush of fans wanting to pick up their copy of the Bradford star's first ever single.

Acting manager Suzanne Dobinson said the store had experienced the largest ever number of pre-orders for the single - a cover version of Unchained Melody.

"Gareth has a very big following in Otley. a lot of the little ones like him very much and he is local as well," she said.

During the final days before voting took place for the winner of Pop Idol - eventually won by Will Young - workers at Woolworths sported teeshirts and badges urging people to vote for the Bradford 17-year-old.

Mrs Dobinson, who added her two daughters were both keen Gareth fans, said there had been a record number of orders taken for the single.

"I'm not allowed to say just how many, but it's huge.

"We're expecting a lot of childrens to drop in on their way to school, it could be another Titanic," she said.

Early indications are that Gareth's single is likely to outsell Will's debut single by a considerable margin.

l Woolworths will open at 8am on Monday. Copies of the single are £3.99 for a CD and £2.29 for a cassette.