FORMER Bradford City assistant manager Steve Parkin is looking forward to giving back to "the most unselfish person" he's ever met.

Parkin and Bolton boss Phil Parkinson spent many a happy year at the Bantams taking them to promotion glory and a historic journey to the League Cup final.

Now, the duo come together to cycle coast-to-coast in a fundraising challenge for the Stephen Darby Foundation.

Former City captain Darby announced his retirement from the game last September after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

You can see fans' tributes for Bradford City legend Stephen Darby here...

Parkin said: "The motivation initially was the fact that we were all devastated when Stephen got the bad news.

"He was always a 'go-up-and-get-them' person in terms of his determination, his personality, how he drove the other players on.

"It was the lads in my local pub - where we meet on a Sunday to watch the football every week - decided we ought to maybe have a challenge.

"Obviously nowhere near as serious as the challenge that Stephen's going to have."

Parkin and Parkinson will be joined by former City chief scout Tim Breaker, as well as a host of Parkin's friends.

The focus of the challenge was to raise as much money as possible for the new foundation.

That brief has certainly been met so far, with around £20,000 raised from the JustGiving page and Darby's own fundraising efforts.

Parkin said: "It's been astonishing really - the response we've had from Bolton fans, Bradford fans, football fans everywhere and local businesses has been amazing.

"The key thing for us; we were overwhelmed when he got the bad news; I think that his first thought - the most unselfish person I've ever met - is how can he help others, while he's still fit and well, who're maybe not as well off as he is.

"Stuff that might help them in the house, wheelchairs and stuff like that, can we raise a large amount of money for his foundation.

"The way our people have pulled together and got together as one united group behind this fundraising effort has been tremendous.

"It's no mean feat raising £20,000 in three or four months.

"I think that it's been a big effort from everybody that's cycling and everybody that's been in-and-around us and we're very grateful indeed."

The Bolton assistant said training had been going well, with several Sunday sessions taking place recently which included taking on the hills of Derby.

Parkin added: "Phil keeps himself fit anyway and Tim Breaker's been doing a little bit.

"I did the coast-to-coast about 20 years ago for British Heart Foundation and the second day is tattooed on my brain.

"Whilst we have done some training, I think we have a tough old day on Saturday and hopefully we can finish in time to watch the cup final."

Darby himself will set the group off on Friday morning at Workington.

The former right-back had been due to take on the final stint on the Sunday, but due to other commitments he won't be there.

But, Parkin said Darby will definitely be on the bike at the start and is excited to see him.

He added: "Most of the lads have played some kind of amateur football, and obviously me, Tim and Phil have been footballers, and there's nothing like team spirit and working as a team.

"We really looking forward to that, we're looking forward to the challenge."

If you want to donate money to help out and to find out more about the challenge you can do so here: