TWO months later than originally scheduled, the North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) season finally gets underway this coming Saturday.

Whitchurch Alport are on their travels with back-to-back trips to Padiham at the weekend and then Irlam on Tuesday night.

But with Burnley and Greater Manchester having stricter restrictions imposed on them due to the pandemic, it begs the question whether or not the games will go ahead or not.

It’s an ever-changing situation with the Macron Cup Final between Runcorn Town and 1874 Northwich postponed on Saturday due to concerns about spectator safety.

The local borough council wanted the game to be played behind closed doors but both clubs – backed by the NWCFL – decided to delay the final until spectators were allowed to watch the game.

The NWCFL has contacted all member clubs to ask if they would like the season to be put on hold, and whether the campaign should get underway if the Government decides that fans can’t attend games until it’s safe to do so.

Despite this the Reds are preparing as normal for the opening two fixtures and director of football, Lea Edge, admits that performances will need to improve if Whitchurch are to hit the ground running.

“There is disappointment right through the club that we have exited two cups in consecutive weeks especially as we haven’t shown up in either game,” he said.

“I’d expect a response from our players who just want to get going as pre-season has gone on forever.

“They know they’re better than what results might suggest but we’ll make sure we’re competitive and ready for the two games.”

Alport will be significantly strengthened by the return of goalkeeper, Krystian Burzynski, Sean Griffiths – who will take the captain’s armband – and midfielders, Dan Skelton and Joe Howell.

Ryan Allcock will be missing due to an elbow injury, and influential skipper, Darren Campion, is awaiting the results of an MRI scan to determine the extent of a knee injury and he’s likely to be a long term absentee.