Rochdale manager Keith Hill hopes Joe Thompson will play for the club in the coming season but insists patience is key after the midfielder beat cancer for a second time.
Last week the 28-year-old Thompson announced on Twitter he was cancer-free and in complete remission, having revealed in March that the nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma he successfully battled in 2013 had returned.
When he was diagnosed with the disease the first time, Thompson was back playing two months after announcing he was in remission.
He has a contract with Dale until the end of the 2017-18 season and has already expressed a desire to return to Hill's fold for the Sky Bet League One campaign.
"We will be led by the medics and Joe," Hill told the club's website, rochdaleafc.co.uk.
"Joe's body will lead Joe, and Joe will lead me. His body will be a big indicator on what he does.
"Joe wants to play football again but I can't be pushy with him because I wouldn't want to send him back to square one after all the hard work that he's been through. Joe knows that, and he knows that I think more of him than football. After the severe treatment that he's been through, what we can't do is risk further injury or complications.
"I'm hopeful of him playing a part in proceedings, but if he doesn't play a part on the field this season, he'll certainly play a big part in the psychology of the squad when times are hard because he'll be a good reminder to the players about what can be achieved in times of difficulty."