ATHERTON Collieries’ chances of promotion from the North West Counties League First Division have been given a major boost after the FA announced the weather-hit club would be allowed to extend their season.

Wet and wintry conditions have caused an unprecedented number of postponements at non-league level.

As a result, the FA will now allow clubs in steps four and five of the pyramid, which includes the NWCL, to extend their playing seasons beyond the agreed cut-off point of the end of April.

Colls are fourth in the NWCL First Division and within touching distance of the two promotion spots, but face a potentially damaging fixture pile-up after so far only being able to complete 15 games of their 34-match season.

But the FA warned any club hoping to earn promotion would only be given an extra week to complete their fixtures.

Mike Appleby, FA leagues and clubs manager, said: “It is vital that promotions are finalised by May 4 as the club allocation meetings take place shortly afterwards.

“It may be the case that non-promotion related games may be able to take place after this date but we will monitor the situation going forward.”

Our three local clubs that play in the NWCL First Division – the Colls, Daisy Hill and Atherton LR – have had a combined total of 29 league matches called off this season.

The Colls, who have had the worst luck with 12 postponements, travel to seventh-placed Oldham Boro tomorrow, while LR travel to Formby and Daisy Hill entertain Northwich Villa in the quarter-finals of the First Division Trophy.