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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Rochdale to name five-year-old supporter on substitutes' bench

Rochdale manager Keith Hill
Keith Hill will lead Rochdale against Hartlepool with an unusual name on the subs bench.

Rochdale will name five-year-old fan Joshua McCormack on their substitutes' bench for the Checkatrade Trophy match against Hartlepool United on Wednesday evening.

McCormack is suffering from a terminal brain tumour and will not attend the game due to his condition but his name will appear on the team sheet and his No. 55 shirt will hang in the dressing room pregame and be displayed on the bench.

Rochdale manager Keith Hill and his squad will visit McCormack at the hospice which cares for him on Thursday and present him with the shirt, and a junior Dale shirt that has been signed by all the players.

"It is a real honour to name Joshua McCormack as a substitute for tonight's game," Hill told Rochdale's official website. "He has touched the hearts of everyone at Rochdale Football Club since we met him for the first time back in February.

"No child should have to go through what Joshua is going through and we, as a club and a group of players, will continue to do whatever we can to support him and his family. We hope this one small gesture can bring some light to his family during this difficult time."

In February the club presented McCormack and his mother with a cheque to help towards a fundraising campaign for treatment and he was mascot for a game in August.

It is the not the first time a football club has made this kind of gesture. Yeovil gave talented 13-year-old goalkeeper Daryl Allinson, who has recovered from a rare form of leukaemia, a day to remember after announcing him as an "official signing" recently.

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