It will have been forty nine days since the last league fixtures took place but from this Saturday the North West Counties League is back in business, albeit a reduced fixture list due to the FA Vase.
Unless you have been a lucky club who have been involved in the FA Cup and FA Vase in this period it has been a long spell with no football and a few mid-season friendlies.
Starting with the FA Vase and six clubs are in action with one remaining second round fixture and four in the third round.
A trip to North Ferriby in the third round is who awaits for the winner on Saturday as Barnton welcome a Seaham Red Star side who have already knocked Irlam out of this seasons tournament.
After both clubs progressed through the last round on penalties Longridge Town and Warrington Rylands will be fighting it out for a place in the next round at the Mike Riding Ground. Premier Division Congleton Town welcome a Coventry United side from the Midland League Premier Division whilst Vauxhall Motors and Hanley Town are on the road as they visit last season’s finalists Hebburn Town and Long Eaton United respectively.
Due to several clubs competing in the FA Vase the Premier Division only has six fixtures this weekend and with top of the table Warrington Rylands in Vase action Northwich Victoria can claim top spot as they welcome Bootle to Wincham Park. Avro also have a good opportunity to climb the table with clubs at the top not in action when they welcome Squires Gate who have only one league victory to their name so far this campaign.
The leagues FA Cup heroes Skelmersdale United now only have the league to focus on as they try to catch up with their fixtures and they continue the league campaign this Saturday as they’re on the road to Whitchurch Alport who are on the same amount of points although playing twice as many games and not having won yet this season.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division tenth place Runcorn Town travel to Ashton Athletic, Charnock Richard are at home to Burscough and Irlam welcome Barnoldswick Town to their newly improved RG3 Digital Stadium.
In Division One North and victory for Bury against twelfth place Garstang will put them top of the league due to Lower Breck, who currently sit in top spot, not having a game. However if the Shakers lose there are a lot of teams on their heels who are also capable of climbing to the summit. Third place Golcar United welcome Holker Old Boys whilst fourth and fifth placed Ashton Town and Bacup Borough battle it out against each other at Profiles Park.
Atherton Laburnum Rovers and St Helens Town have only managed to play two league fixtures each so far and it will be an uphill battle for the sides to get their games played. A trip to Nelson awaits Atherton LR whilst ST Helens Town travel to The Marine Travel Arena to take on AFC Liverpool. With the landlords playing away Pilkington have a home fixture where they welcome Steeton who have four points from five games this season.
Elsewhere in the league AFC Blackpool host AFC Darwen in a mid-table battle where both teams are level on points, sixth place Prestwich Heys travel to Chadderton and Cleator Moor Celtic welcome bottom of the league Daisy Hill.
In the South Division eight games are due to take place and with Vauxhall Motors in FA Vase action Sandbach United can take top spot if they win at Maine Road by three or more goals. Stockport Town and Wythenshawe Town can both stay in the top four with victories away at Ellesmere Rangers and home to Cheadle Heath Nomads respectively. However if either Stockport or Wythenshawe lost than West Didsbury & Chorlton can claim the final top four spot with victory at Eccleshall.
Wythenshawe Amateurs and Abbey Hulton United are both looking for their first league victory this season and are both on the road. The Ammies travel to Stone Old Alleynians who sit in ninth spot whilst United visit Alsager Town who are eleventh.
New Mills and Cammell Laird meet at Kirklands with the winners being able to close the gap near the top whilst the final game in the division is between thirteenth and fourteenth as Cheadle Town welcome St Martins to their Park Road Stadium.
The Townfield Stadium is in use on Sunday as 1874 Northwich play in the Premier Division. Padiham are the visitors in the mid-table clash as only two points separate the sides.
A busy weekend of league and cup football as the season can recommence.