ANTONY Sweeney and Hartlepool United will pay tribute to Michael Maidens today.

The club’s former midfielder died 12 years ago today, aged 20, in a car accident on the A174.

Pools, then under Danny Wilson’s management, were due to play at Swansea the following day, with Sweeney, now the club’s caretaker boss, part of the squad and a team-mate of the Teessider.

Maidens’ parents have been invited to today's FA Cup tie with Brackley at Victoria Park and Sweeney said: “Doug and Heather will be at the game and we have the Maiden’s Suite named after Michael, which is a long-lasting and fitting tribute.

“I hope we, as a football club, can put on a performance which eases somewhat the pain of the day. It’s never going to be easy, and they have gone through so much over the years.

“I will pop up and see them on the day, it’s been three years since I last saw them and let’s hope it’s on the back of a good performance.’’

He recalled: “I’m the only one on the football side at the club still around from when it happened.

“We were at Swansea preparing for a game when it happened. Roberto Martinez was Swansea's manager was brilliant that day. He came to our team hotel and just told us to get back on the bus and head home.’’

The club retired Maiden’s No 25 shirt following his death and renamed the goal of the season award in his honour, after Maiden’s won the 2006 award with a spectacular effort against Huddersfield.

Each year supporters applaud in the 25th minute of the game which is played closest the date of his passing and will do so again.