JON STEAD is still to decide whether the current campaign will be the last of his 19-year professional career, but if the veteran striker is to hang up his boots, he is hoping to sign off in style by helping Harrogate Town triumph in the rearranged FA Trophy final at Wembley.

Harrogate take on Concord Rangers this teatime in the final of the 2019-20 Trophy. The North Yorkshire side qualified for the Wembley showpiece as a non-league side, but have spent the last nine months playing in the Football League after winning promotion to League Two last season.

The fact that a league side is playing in the Trophy final is a quirk caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as is the fact that today’s game, which follows the FA Vase final between Consett and Hebburn, will be played behind-closed-doors.

Nevertheless, Stead still expects it to be a memorable occasion, and with his career nearing its end, the 38-year-old is desperate to be able to play his part.

“If I do end up retiring this summer then a Wembley final would be a magical way to finish,” said Stead, whose much-travelled career featured an 18-month spell at Sunderland where he scored two goals in 40 appearances.

“If I’m selected to play, for my last or one of my last games to be in that stadium would be a massive buzz.

“I’m closing in on a bit of a personal milestone with professional appearances, so the perfect scenario would be to make it 700, score a goal at Wembley and us win the Trophy. That would be amazing and the best possible way for me to sail off into the sunset.”

With his contract at Wetherby Road due to end in the summer, Stead accepts that his playing days might well be approaching their end.

“If I’m honest, I think it is looking like this will be my last season,” he said. “But I’m not ruling anything out just yet.

“I’ve had a few discussions recently and there’s a few people still wanting me to carry on, so I’ll wait until the end of this season and then make a decision. When I signed a two-year deal at Harrogate Town at the age of 36 I knew that I would have a decision to make at the end of that contract.”

“I don’t want to go on too long and end up being an embarrassment."