ALBION Sports’ joint-manager Ishy Hussain is hoping for a mini-tournament this spring to make up for what might have been.

The Bradford side had a rotten 2019/20 season, and sat second-bottom in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, before it was declared null and void.

But with John Francis departing and Hussain taking over alongside Pav Singh last summer, there were positive early signs, with Albion picking up 13 points from their nine games this campaign.

That will be all though, with the season officially curtailed last week.

Hussain said: “Obviously everybody was disappointed but it is what it is. The season never really got going as it was so stop-start.

“It’s probably easier to take for us, sat in mid-table, than those teams at the top who still don’t know if they’ll be able to get promoted or not.

“For us, carrying on would have been great, as we’ve got a practically brand-new team compared to last year, so fingers crossed we’ll get to show our progress next season.”

They might get to show it sooner, though clubs in the NCEL were dealt a blow last Friday with the news that the league would not be holding an official cup competition for members this spring.

However, clubs are free to arrange their own “localised” tournaments, subject to NCEL permission.

It is a path Hussain is keen to explore, saying: “It would have been good to have an NCEL tournament, but Brighouse* have already asked us to join in with one, so hopefully that can be the case.

“As long as we can go back to training at the end of March, we want to get matches in as soon as possible, in April or May time.”

Albion will be hoping a tournament can help them continue their progress of the last nine months.

Hussain explained: “John had his issues with the players, but he came in at quite a difficult time, with change going on, and found it hard to get the the right men in.

“It was easier for us, as we had time to get players in.

“A lot of the lads Pav and I brought in are fairly young, so it was disappointing not to get that full season in this year to see how we’d developed from the last one.

“Danny Facey, Andrew Cooper and Charlie Flaherty are still at the club though, older players with more experience that have helped those other lads come on.”

Hussain and Singh worked well as a duo with that group, but the latter departed in January to become assistant manager at Liversedge.

Albion moved fast, and promoted player welfare and recruitment officer Danny Brown to work alongside Hussain.

Asked if he likes being part of a management duo, Hussain said: “There are pros and cons for everything.

“Some managers like to work on their own but I’m a coach and a mentor first and foremost, who’s easy going and likes to listen to others.

“Danny has the experience of playing in this league, so he has the contacts, and we both get on well.

“I just feel it would be silly not to use him.”

*Brighouse are in a similar position to Albion, after being informed by the Northern Premier League that they will not be running a spring tournament either.