A TEAM of football players will take on a group of soap stars – and they’ve got one goal in mind.

They hope to send two-year-old Oliver McConnell to America for a life-changing operation.

Oliver, who has cerebral palsy and cannot stand independently or walk, has been booked in for specialist surgery where a vertebrae and damaged nerves are removed from the bottom of his spine giving him the best chance of walking independently.

Twelve weeks ago his parents Barry, a Staff Sergeant at Bicester Garrison, and Danielle launched a £72,000 appeal. Soldiers and civilians from Bicester will play a group of actors from Hollyoaks at Banbury United’s ground in Station Approach, Banbury, on July 29.

Each of the 17-strong Bicester Garrison side must raise £100.

Mr McConnell said: “It’s excellent to play against Hollyoaks and even more interesting for the women.”

Banbury Utd club chairman Pete Meadows said: “We were approached by serving members to run a match for Help for Heroes and Help Oliver Walk and were happy to help out. One of our supporters Stacey Evans has connections with the Hollyoaks team.”

So far the McConnells have raised £54,000 and will travel to the United States on August 16 for Oliver’s surgery five days later. Mrs McConnell said: “Now it’s approaching, it’s scary. I can’t believe it’s happening.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support. We are so grateful and know it is down to the community and the military.”

Match tickets cost £5 and kick-off is 2pm, gates open at 11am. Proceeds will also help Alder Hey Hospital and Help For Heroes.

Visit helpoliverwalk.co.uk The Help Oliver Walk appeal was given a massive £10,000 boost by the Jack O’Donnell Foundation. Jack, 16, of Thame, was a talented ice hockey player who died in 2010 after a falling from his bike and suffering spinal injuries.

Trustee David Hunt said: “It was something very dear to the charity.”