DENTON Town will be something of a football rarity – they are playing on this season.
However, their promotion battle has been made sightly harder as only one team will be promoted to the Cheshire League’s, premier division after their top-flight was curtailed.
A vote on Monday, March 22, saw clubs decide on whether they wanted to play on to an extended date in June or not.
But while all leagues above Denton Town up to the National League are off, division one sides in their league voted to restart on Saturday, April 3.
Only Malpas opted out – meaning Phill Cooper and Darren Green’s side will play two fewer fixtures.
However, just being able to carry on is a blessed relief – they are back in action on Tuesday, March 30 against Manchester League side Springhead.
Phill said: “We’re starting again, and the current guidance means there are no travel restrictions because there is no tiering system so we can finish the season as planned.
“Only one side has opted out, 12 say they’re going to carry on and there’s one the league is waiting for an answer from.
“Some teams were a bit sceptical about when the season could finish but there’s an extension now until the end of June.
“And the league is confident teams can finish.
“Normally, the top two in our division go up but as the premier division has been curtailed, only the winners will go up.
“Second placed will be on a hope and a prayer that a team from the division above gets promoted into step six.
“There were a few premier teams a but unhappy that some were happy to play in a cup competition but not on the league, which I can understand.
“I’m always in contact with the league’s chairman – I bet he hates seeing my name come up on his phone – as my fear was losing another season.
“And no-one knows what’s going to happen. There’s nothing to say we won’t be in this position again in 12 months’ time.
“So, if there was a chance we could finish this season, I couldn’t understand why the league wouldn’t be willing to do so.
“Hopefully now we’ve made the right decision and it doesn’t come back to bite us.
“The fact it’s only one going up now makes it a bigger ask as we had a really bad start to the season, it’s a massive task.
“But all we can do is put a run together and see where we end up. If we finished second and don’t go up, it stands us in good stead.”
As soon as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced grassroots sport can resumed on March 29, Denton Town were out of the blocks in arranging their friendly with Springhead the following day.
Fans are still not allowed at Whittle’s Park and for the management team, it is definitely a step into the unknown.
Some one-on-one sessions, in line with Government guidance, have been carried out but Phill admits there can be no tactical messages.
He added: “The lads are eager to get going, they just want to get back to it.
“Those one-on-one sessions got the buzz back in everybody’s bellies. We’ll play against Springhead on the Tuesday, train on the Thursday and have our first league game on the Saturday.
“The Springhead game is mainly about just getting the lads back out there playing again. But at the same time, we’ve got aims and ambitions and we want to go out there and be competitive.
“And when the league season restarts, we need to be picking up points from the off.”