ATHERTON Colls’ chairman has outlined the impact the stop-start Northern Premier League season is having on the club.

Colls saw their previous league campaign declared ‘null and void’ back in March following the initial outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK, and haven’t played a league game this time round since October 27.

Now, with the country having been placed under further tighter restrictions by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Colls chairman Paul Gregory has revealed some plans at the Skuna Stadium have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is the potential that the league may not restart, which would be disappointing for everyone involved if it were to happen again,” he said.

“We had planned to put the money raised this season towards improving our changing rooms and floodlights at the stadium, but we’ve already had to put those plans back 12 months because games have been postponed and we haven’t been able to raise the funds.

“Financially, we’re quite lucky that we will be alright if the season doesn’t restart, and there has been talk of non-league clubs being given a loan or a grant to help us out, but it doesn’t make not being able to play games any easier.

“I want to see us playing, just as everyone else does.

“In particular, I feel sorry for our fans and sponsors because it’s those people that pay their money to come and watch the team, and they’ve not been able to do that nearly enough this year.”

Like many clubs, the Colls have seen the effect of Covid-19 first-hand, with members of the squad and coaching staff contracting the virus in pre-season leading to the club briefly shutting down.

As a result, some of the team’s planned friendlies had to be cancelled and those involved had to isolate in line with the Government’s guidelines.

Despite their interrupted preparations, Brad Cooke’s side had started the season well on the pitch and currently sit ninth in the Premier Division table after the eight games they have managed to play.

Chairman Gregory saluted the squad’s efforts so far this term but admits that they may go unrewarded for a second season running given the rising infection rates in recent weeks.

“We’ve got a good set of lads together now and they’ve performed excellently on the pitch when they’ve been allowed to play this year but we’re now in December and we’ve only played eight league games,” he said.

“We have 34 left so if the campaign does get under way again, we’re going to be asking a lot of the team to fit in the rest of the fixtures.

“There’s no definite answer as to the future of the season yet, we’re just awaiting guidance from the league.”