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By ESPN Staff

Blackpool plan to expand

Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston has confirmed plans are in place to increase the capacity of Bloomfield Road to more than 16,500 this summer.

Work is set to take place in the south-east corner of the ground, increasing the number of seats by 500, and will be carried out even if the Seasiders are relegated from the Premier League.

Oyston told the Blackpool Gazette: "We've had preliminary discussions with planners about the south-east corner. I don't want to say too much until we put the planning application in but hopefully we'll be able to fill that corner in.

"It will look the same as the other corners and give us a net 500 gain in capacity. We'll do it regardless of what happens this season.''

Meanwhile, Oyston has hit back at claims the club are not doing enough to support youth team coach Gary Parkinson, who has been left with locked-in syndrome after a stroke last September.

Several fund-raising events have been organised by his former clubs, with a charity match set to take place at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium on May 15.

Former Boro goalkeeper Jim Platt, who is helping to organise the match, has criticised Oyston for not backing the campaign but the Blackpool chairman claims too many fundraising initiatives would be counterproductive.

He said: "Gary Parkinson remains an employee of BFC and Deborah (Gary's wife) is to inform me of the situation with Gary and when he is fit to, or wishes to, return to work.

"I've said all along to everyone the best people to lead this fundraising are the PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) and I think all these very well-meaning but smaller events mean the main event - the benefit match - will be diluted substantially because people only have so much to give.

"I've said all along I'm happy to host a match here but the best place is a ground with a bigger capacity and where Gary had his glory years.

"He played half a season for us, if that, and they've got one shot to raise funds which really have to look after Gary's care and recuperation. I think one or two have gone about it the wrong way.''

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