Manager Keith Hill has praised the unity around the club at the end of an emotional week for everyone connected to it.
Since Thursday’s announcement that Joe Thompson’s cancer had returned for a second time, fans and players of teams from all over the country have rallied with messages of support for the 28-year-old.
On Saturday, Joe's teammates held his shirt aloft after Nathaniel Mendez-Laing opened the scoring at the Crown Oil Arena.
“It has been a very, very, very emotional season/ 2017,” said Hill.
“Joe Thompson is very close to me and the players. He’s part of the family.
“What you’ll find at this club is a group of lads who are special. There’s a family unity here – we look after each other and we protect each other. There’s a siege mentality and we have an emotional connection between each other.
“Joe means the world to me and my family. It has been difficult because I have known for a while and Joe attended my Dad’s funeral which was very emotional for Joe and for me. And the number of players who turned up for my Dad’s funeral was immense.
“I love working for this football club because there’s still a family connection and a community feel here. I wouldn’t want that to change.”
Watch the full interview on Dale PlayerHD.