BRIGHOUSE Town's Chairman believes the return of competitive football is "critical", as the Oranges prepare for the newly formed Yorkshire Trophy.

Town are set to host Penistone Church on Monday evening in the first fixture of the competition, whilst welcoming back 1000 supporters to the Yorkshire Payments Stadium for the first time since lockdown restrictions were eased.

The tournament will finally proceed, however not under the original format as several sides were forced to pull away due to financial and other reasons.

Under the new format, a total of six sides will battle it out to be crowned the Yorkshire Trophy champions, including Liversedge, Golcar United and Wakefield.

And Town Chairman James Howard is buoyant ahead of his side's competitive return, although he admits that the tournament has been tough to formulate.

He said: “It has been incredibly tough. Obviously, the clubs have different reasons for pulling out, but the biggest one probably being the uncertainty over the DCMS and the FA allowing fans to come back into stadiums.

"That's because there is a big financial cost associated with this tournament, I.E match officials, utility costs and paying players.

"So, the uncertainty over not allowing fans in at all from a revenue generation point, was obviously a big decision for a lot of clubs, but we've managed to get it on all be it, it wasn't in the original format, however we are just glad we have got football back on, and with fans returning, as of Monday."

Howard added: " "It's absolutely critical that competitive football is back. Friendlies are important, don't get me wrong, but this is not a friendly tournament.

"It's a competitive tournament that every team in the tournament wants to win, mainly from the bragging-rights point of view as well.

"There is some silverware on offer, and we are looking at making this an annual event.

"The Yorkshire Trophy is something we want to expand on and turn it into a pre-season tournament, all be it as of next season."

Amongst the midst of the action, 1000 Town fans will return to the Yorkshire Payments Stadium on Monday evening, and Howard is delighted to welcome them back.

He said: "People are just itching to come back and watch live football, and certainly with a club like Brighouse who have a die-hard fanbase.

"We can't wait to put a smile back on people's faces as a lot of our fans live for Saturday afternoons.

"Everyone is looking forward to it.

"We just want to see the fans back and everyone down at the stadium enjoying themselves.

"And barring the League-Cup final, we are probably one of the first clubs to have fans back since December, so that's a bit ground-breaking in itself anyway, in terms of being able to do that."

Weather providing, Town will welcome fans back once again on Monday.