Hitchin Town set for instant return to playing as league and FA reveal restart plans
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Hitchin Town will be thrust straight back into the fray of competitive matches should the government’s restrictions end as planned.
Grassroots football has been suspended for the duration of the four-week period but both the leagues and FA have started to release details of their restart strategies for the dates after December 2.
Over half of the Canaries’ fellow Southern League teams, 59 per cent, voted for December 12 as the date of the first league game back.
However, Mark Burke’s men will get an even earlier start with their delayed FA Trophy first round match at home to Mickleover set for Tuesday, December 8.
The second round will take place a week later with the third round just four days after that.
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The Southern League said: “Having taken into consideration the answers to the questionnaire sent to clubs regarding the restart date, we will officially restart on Saturday, December 12, as voted for by 59 per cent of clubs, provided that the second lockdown finishes as planned.
“If not, the league may need to look again at the situation.
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“However, should any club wish to restart on either Saturday, December 5, or the following midweek or, indeed, play matches on both dates, the league would have no objection.
“The season will restart based on the four divisions and the fixtures already scheduled or being re-scheduled by the league.
“The league is looking to re-arrange as many matches postponed during the lockdown period that would have experienced excessive travel times for a Saturday later in the season.”
That would mean Hitchin would pick up their Premier Division Central fixtures at home to Banbury United before potentially going to Tamworth on December 19.
The Southern League have not extended the campaign though which is still set to finish on Saturday, May 8, with play-off semi-finals on Tuesday, May 11, and the finals themselves on either Saturday, May 15, or Sunday, May 16.
The fixtures that were postponed during the shutdown will be rearranged for some point during the remaining time, although the league did say they would look to get long trips on weekends wherever possible.