Rochdale name five-year-old Joshua McCormack on bench

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Rochdale had an unrecognisable name on their team sheet for a Checkatrade trophy clash with Hartlepool, naming five-year-old Joshua McCormack on their bench.  

Joshua is suffering from a terminal brain tumour and is being cared for in a local hospice, but this didn't stop him becoming the club's youngest-ever singing. 

Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the game on Wednesday night, but Rochdale manager Keith Hill hung his shirt, number 55, in the away dressing room and also put it on the bench. Joshua was also named on the official team sheet before the match. 

Hill, his players and his backroom staff are all meeting Joshua and his family on Thursday at his hospice, to present the youngster with his matchday shirt, the teamsheet from Wednesday's game and a junior Rochdale shirt signed by the team. 

Manager Hill told The Dale's club website:

"It is a real honour to name Joshua McCormack as a substitute for tonight's game. 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."

Joshua was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year and his family were told at the end of September that his illness is now terminal.

Since the devastating diagnosis, Rochdale have supported Joshua's family.

The youngster was The Dale's mascot for a game in August and the club have helped financially by donating to a fundraising campaign for treatment.

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