YOU wouldn't expect a man with 46 England caps and nearly 400 appearances at the top level of football in England and Scotland to look forward to an FA Cup fourth qualifying match.
But tomorrow's tie between UniBond League club Barrow and Chester City isn't just another game for Gary Stevens, who has been helping the Blues in the Deva Stadium's medical room this season.
He was born in Barrow 38 years ago and his parents still live there along with various other relatives, some of whom have been associated with the Holker Street club as fans and players.
And although Stevens never played for Barrow he still feels an affinity for his home town club which fell on hard times when he was beginning to think about a career in the game.
'I was launched on my career path when Everton spotted me playing for the town's school team and for the county, so I never had the chance to play for Barrow, but I visit my parents there, so I haven't lost touch with my roots,' he said.
Stevens, who was a Goodison regular with former Chester boss Kevin Ratcliffe before spells with Rangers and Tranmere, arrived at the Deva this summer as a back-up for Chris Malkin who was to have a dual role as a player and sports therapist. They are both on the same university degree course at Salford with six months to go before, hopefully, they qualify as sports therapists.
The idea was for Stevens to look after the medical duties when Malkin was playing, but, in fact, Malkin has been sidelined with injury for most of the time.
'I have been coming to the ground most days, helping with injuries, and I am enjoying it,' he explained. ' I have no official role with Chester and I am not on the payroll, but I am gaining a lot of experience.'
The arrival of Steve Mungall as caretaker manager when the club was taken over by Stephen Vaughan, was welcomed by Stevens. They were both at Tranmere before Stevens, who lives with his wife, a son and two daughters in Bromborough, had to quit because of complications caused by an infection following an operation.
He took an enforced break from the game, but is now happy to be involved again, albeit in a casual way, with a manager who is an old friend and respected former team-mate.
'I have never had any managerial or coaching aspirations,' he said, 'but I will be proud of myself if I gain my degree and then, hopefully, find a job in the sport.
'But for now it's nice to be with a team which wants to do well playing good football.'