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Nelson out to highlight plight of sick Sophie

PUBLISHED: 10:30 06 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:06 06 July 2010

City players will use tomorrow's televised FA Cup clash against tiny Paulton Rovers to highlight a cause close to the heart of big defender Michael Nelson.

City players will use tomorrow's televised FA Cup clash against tiny Paulton Rovers to highlight a cause close to the heart of big defender Michael Nelson.

The squad will all wear special

T-shirts in the pre-match warm-up as part of an appeal to raise funds for toddler Sophie Atay, who is suffering from cancer.

Nelson's wife Dawn is a close friend of Sophie's mum Karine in his native north-east.

X-Factor mastermind Simon Cowell has promised £100,000 to the appeal to send little Sophie - who will be two years old on November 15 - to America for treatment. But while the initial £500,000 needed for treatment has been reached, the family still need money.

City players and management have already chipped in with £2,000 and tomorrow, with the permission of club sponsors Aviva, the players will highlight the cause in front of a nation.

"It's just to try and raise a little bit of awareness," said Nelson. "Obviously it has been a big story in the national news. They have raised the initial £500,000 to get her out to America, which will pay for the initial treatment, but with the news coming out that they raised that there is a little bit of a concern that the fund-raising will die off now.

"Obviously she is going to be out there a long time and there will be a lot of other medical expenses while she is out there, so they are trying to raise as much money as they can to make sure she has got enough while she is out there. They don't want funds to run dry.

"Anything raised over what Sophie doesn't use will be passed on to another child with the same condition, so they can't raise too much money.

"Sophie's mother is close friends with my wife. They did a sponsored walk at the beginning of the season while we were away on our pre-season tour. My wife was doing it and I took a sponsorship form and managed to get a couple of thousand pounds off all the boys and the management, so that was good.

"But then last week the news came out that they were really struggling.

"With the game being on the TV I thought it was a good opportunity. With the fan base Norwich have got, getting 25,000 every week - if all of them went on line and just donated £1 it would make a massive difference, but we are not just trying to target the Norwich fans.

"The game is on the TV and we are hoping to get it out there nationally again and kick-start the fund-raising again."

To make a donation go to www.justgiving.com/sophie-appeal


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