ILKLEY Town are desperate to get back playing come March 29 so they can achieve promotion to Step 6 on the field.

Last week's Government announcement signalling organised outdoor sports for children and adults can return at the end of the month was great news for Ilkley who are keen to finish their season.

Although leagues in Steps 3-6 have bitten the dust, suffering curtailments due to the uncertainties around when crowds could return, it seems as though the Step 7 West Yorkshire League Premier Division may well resume.

With the FA allowing an extension until June 30, there is the possibility of fulfilling the remaining 18 fixtures if teams were to play in midweek.

Town have already applied to move up into the North West Counties First Division North but would prefer to do so by winning the title.

Firstly, speaking on Steps 3-6 being declared null and void, Ilkley chairman Richard Giles said: "It didn’t surprise me because they have got more expenses as they are paying players and without any fans to watch the games they would lose money each week. It is a difficult situation for them.

"It is a real shame because a lot of people just want to play football after missing it over the last few months.

"Our aim is to finish the league and earn promotion that way. If you put the two years together (where Ilkley have always been in the top three) I think we have done enough to show we are deserved of a place in the league above.

"It is all still up in the air, so I think everybody is just waiting to see how it all falls into place. There seems to be an intention to promote wherever that is possible to do so."

If they are unable to resume their league campaign, Giles is flirting with the idea of forming some sort of local summer competition.

A whole host of clubs from the North West, including Barnoldswick Town, are featuring in a tournament over a four-week period culminating in a final on May 1.

Giles said: "We would like to organise a local competition, maybe a mini league, just to keep the players going and get them games.

"I think there is such a strong desire to get back playing and I am sure there will be a way to put competitive games on if the league is cancelled."

He added: "We want the kids to get back playing football to catch up on what they have missed out on at the start of this year.

"We open for business from March 29 and I know the coaches can’t wait to get back too.

"One of the benefits of the lockdown is we have built a real strong management team for the ladies."

Headed by new manager Sam Holmshaw, Ilkley's women's side, who play in the West Riding County League First Division, are recruiting players for the new season.

They will be training every Wednesday from 8-10pm at the MPM Stadium, once the restrictions have been lifted.

If you are interested in playing for the team, contact Sam on 07842 532102.