STEETON boss Roy Mason says he has no issue with the cautious approach of the North West Counties Football League towards the season restarting, and feels many non-league clubs are being "over-ambitious" with their hopes of playing again in a few weeks.

Many leagues have been making positive noises about a return to action, but the NWCFL (a Step 5-6 league) have told clubs that starting on September 1 is "most unlikely".

This is allegedly because some clubs have concerns about implementing new guidelines.

They also believe it’s unlikely that all steps will start together as "Steps 1-4 have far more resources than those in our league".

Mason has backed their approach to the situation, saying: "I think the North West Counties have been really good with everybody and their communication has been fantastic, with keeping us all in the loop.

"They're just being realistic. I've read on social media what will supposedly happen and I think people are being over-ambitious.

"People want to get back to playing and they're understandably frustrated, as it's been a long break since March.

"But at Steps 5 to 6 certainly, it's not right to return until it's safe for supporters at this level. We need the revenue, not just from fans paying for the game, but teas, coffees and bar money as well.

"With no revenue, it would be hard for most clubs to sustain themselves."

Many non-league clubs have returned to some form of pre-season training, but Mason explained why his side have taken a different approach.

He said: "There's no sign of a (coronavirus) vaccine and we can't train normally, so that's why we're not having training at the moment.

"To me, you need a goal in pre-season, and for it to be fixed at around six weeks.

"There's no benefit to having two to three months of pre-season as from my own experiences, the players will get bored.

"It's alright at first, as the lads get to see their friends again, but I've spoken to some managers who are back and their players are already just wondering when the season will happen.

"You can also only have groups of five players plus a coach because of social distancing and you can't actually play football in those sessions.

"Clubs aren't insured against the virus either and the main thing for us is safeguarding players and their families.

"Until there's a firm date, there's no point in training for me. Our players have got their own programmes to keep fit at home at least.

"The North West Counties have told us we'll get a minimum of four weeks' notice before the season starts in the worst case scenario, but we should get an inkling before that.

"The problem is that people are jumping on the FA guidelines, which are positive about a return in August, September or October, but it's all based on what the government will allow us to do.

"It's difficult because we've never been in this situation before and we just have to wait on the government guidelines at the moment.

"I wouldn't even like to say when we'll start because we're still seeing spikes, like the one in Darwen, who have a North West Counties team.

"We could still be looking at the worst case scenario and asking whether there'll even be a season.

"The North West Counties are right to err on the side of caution, I know the (local) cricket is returning this weekend but you can play that socially-distanced, you can't with football."

Another issue, admittedly a smaller one, is that teams in the NWCFL cannot register any new players while there is no set date for the 2020/21 season to commence.

Addressing that situation, Mason said: "I can understand why the North West Counties haven't opened up registration yet.

"Why would they want to register players when they could move from club to club during all this? Then they'd have to do all the paperwork again in a few weeks' time when they transfer to another club.

"It's difficult talking to potential new players, we have talked to a few, but we obviously can't give them any firm dates for a return to training or the start of the season.

"It's difficult because players at this level have probably got other things on their mind at the moment, like being furloughed or having to deal with changing shift patterns.

"I'm a Bradford City fan so I often listen to what Stuart McCall has to say. They've only just been able to make their first signing (Levi Sutton), so even at higher levels it's hard to plan for the new season."

In some positive news, Steeton's move to Marley is still making progress.

Mason said: "All the off pitch stuff has basically been done. We've sorted out the changing rooms, finished up the hospitality, and the turnstile and stand we needed are virtually ready.

"We're still waiting on the pitch to be laid but it has been signed off, and we had the local MP Robbie Moore down at Marley on Saturday chatting to us about our progress.

"Everything's been put a bit behind schedule by the scenario we're in, but the North West Counties have been good and we've kept them informed of all the different stages we're at."