THIS past week has bred some surprisingly good news for Ilkley Town as it looks like they will be able to return in early March as long as the restrictions allow it.

The prospect of finishing the 2020/21 season seemed grim when a third national lockdown was imposed at the start of the year, bringing grassroots sport to a standstill until at least mid-February.

But the West Yorkshire League have now sent clubs information saying they are planning a resumption which would involve playing games up until May 29.

Ilkley chairman Richard Giles welcomed the message and thinks it would allow a points-per-game (PPG) system to be implemented, if needed.

He said: "Once the clocks change you can play midweek games as well as weekends so you could probably play 14 or 15 more to add to what we have already played.

"I would have thought you need to have played at least half your games to make PPG a credible option. You would get more than two-thirds of it played."

If football at step three and below is unable to get going again, the Baht 'atters have supported a plan to combine both results from this and last season's null and void campaign together using PPG.

The proposal, which is understood to be favoured by over a dozen of other non-league clubs, would not include relegation, only promotion. Something Giles thinks must happen no matter what.

He added: "The FA should find a way to allow teams to get promoted otherwise the leagues just stagnate.

"The clubs that are ready to play at the next level up should be given the opportunity. The PPG over two years is one option.

"I think it evens itself out. The teams that are doing well this year by and large did well last year. It is a reasonable way to do it.

"But if there is a better way then we are all for that.

"They don’t need to relegate teams too which would be controversial. There is enough spaces up the football pyramid to allow promotion to take place.

"Some of the leagues we have spoken too would be willing to see more teams in their divisions to allow promotion to happen."

Town have been waiting to go up for over two years now after building an excellent infrastructure and producing the goods on the pitch.

After sitting second when the results were expunged in 2019-20, they are currently top of the Premier Division after winning seven of their eight matches.

"Ilkley Town has grown tremendously in the last 10 years," Giles added.

"We are entering the next phase of the development of the club.

"The most obvious elements of that are moving to semi-professional status and developing an elite player program.

"Alongside that we recognise the important role that we play in our local community.

"There are 2,000 people involved and remember that is from a town with a population of 14,000.”