With fixture release confirmations cascading through the National League system we are now able to confirm the 2023-24 seasons fixture template. All Clubs have today received copies of their respective fixtures, and whilst these remain subject to the usual fixture changes due to cups, venues etc, we are confident that this seasons roster gives us a strong opportunity to finish on schedule.
This seasons curtain opener is the Reusch Champions Cup which takes place at Vauxhall Motors FC this weekend (Saturday 22nd July, 3pm) between Vauxhall Motors and Congleton Town and then the following week, the League Campaign gets under way, almost immediately followed by the early rounds of the Emirates FA Cup. The Annual Groundhop details will be released shortly and Non-League day this season is scheduled for 23rd March 2024.
The aim being to get all scheduled league games completed by Saturday April 20th to allow good time to get the respective play-offs and Cup finals played.
Looking at the fixtures, the opening months fixtures have already been released and reviewed, so with that in mind, let's have a look at selected dates released today. The Christmas and New Year period is one that everyone looks forward to, in the Premier Division there are a number of fixture dates that are showing. We have a full programme of games on Saturday 23rd December and these include Bury travelling to Burscough, Colne travelling to FC Isle of Man and Cheadle Town hosting Wythenshawe Town.
In Division One North and South on 23rd December, it is currently a free Saturday, although with possible postponements due to weather and cups there will likely be a number of games re-arranged into this date. Eccleshall Vs Droylsden is one that has already been allocated to that day.
Boxing Day traditionally sees a number of local derby games to whet the appetite and this season is no different, in the Premier Divison Litherland Remyca will host AFC Liverpool whilst Bury welcome Prestwich Heys at Gigg Lane. Padiham host Ramsbottom for the first time in a while and there is a tasty looking tie for Pilkington as they welcome Lower Breck to Ruskin Drive. It's going to be a busy day for FC Isle of Man as they are scheduled to travel to Chadderton.
Derby games aplenty in Division One North as the Marley Derby takes a bow as Route One Rovers 'host' Steeton in what is likely to be a well attended game with alot of interest around it. The Ashton Derby takes place at Brocstedes Park as Athletic host Town and not too far down the road there is the Flat Cap Derby as Atherton LR welcome Daisy Hill to Crilly Park for some festive footy. Runcorn Town welcome South Liverpool and AFC Blackpool head along the M65 to Shelley.
Division One South also sees some great looking local battles as Cammell Laird 1907 head to Ashville for what is normally a hard fought game. Sandbach United hist Alsager Town and Stafford will host neighbours, Brocton. There is a Boxing Day road-trip for Market Drayton Town but they will likely relish a trip to Droylsden for what should be an atmospheric fixture. Winsford Town hosting Barnton could be a decent game for the neutrals too.
The traditional New Years fixture is scheduled for Saturday 30th December this season, again with a full roster of games scheduled. The Premier Division has a number of great looking fixtures in it including Glossop North End welcoming Litherland Remyca and West Didsbury & Chorlton hostong Padiham. Bury travel to face AFC Liverpool that day whilst FC Isle of Man host Burscough.
In Division One North that day Ashton Athletic make the short journey along the M6 as they travel to Euxton Villa. FC St Helens are much fancied by observers to challenge again this season and they round off a busy festive schedule with a home game against Ilkley whilst another team fancied to do well are South Liverpool and they are also at home, facing Darwen. Holker travel to Runcorn Town that day and route One Rovers are also on the road as they make the trip to Garstang.
In Division One South Market Drayton Town host Stafford Town in a great looking fixture, whilst Stockport Georgians hosting Stockport Town could be a great looking game. Barnton host Alsager Town and Abbey Hulton welcome Maine Road.
The final set of Division One Fixtures are set for 13th April, a week ahead of the Premier Division. In Division One North FC St Helens travel to Darwen that day whilst South Liverpool are also on the road to AFC Blackpool. Holker have gone close to promotion in recent years and they finish their campaign with a home game against Ilkley Town. Euxton Villa have also gone close to promotion recently and they are also on the road for the last weekend as they travel to Route One Rovers.
If all goes to plan the last Premier Division Weekend of scheduled games will be Saturday 20th April and who knows what will have been settled by that point. Bury will be away at Ramsbottom that day whilst West Didsbury & Chorlton are away at Chadderton. Another side independently fancied by supporters to be in the mix, Lower Breck are at home to Padiham whilst in Salford Irlam host Longridge Town. FC Isle of Man welcome AFC Liverpool to The Island and Wythenshawe head to the seaside to take on Squires Gate.
Lots to play for, lots of permutations, plenty of drama and hopefully no snow. With a bit of luck we will get the season over the line at the proposed dates and we will be able to look back on what will hopefully be an amazing season of competitive football.
All Fixtures will be available on the League Website under the fixtures tab and all clubs will be aware of their fixture programme at this point.