A FOOTBALL club chairman has expressed cautious optimism following the news that play will return from August and a Covid-19 fighting fund will provide the club with a safety net during the uncertain period.

Chairman of Workington Reds Les Byers said: “The latest information from the Northern Premier League and the FA suggests that competitive training and pre season friendlies can commence behind closed doors from the beginning of August.”

The season could then start on September 19 with fans in attendance, all be it with measures in place to prevent a Covid outbreak.

Byers said: “This is all subject to any changes to Government advice. We have to do rigorous risk assessments to see the continued safety of our supporters. By this weekend we should have the first draft in place.”

The lockdown has posed a threat to the future of Workington Reds, like other clubs, as the suspension of play and the prospect of matches taking place behind closed doors removes much of their income. A Save Shankly’s Reds frundaising appeal was launched during the time of financial hardship and called on Liverpool FC fans to lend their support as the two clubs share a common bond in former manager Bill Shankly.

Byers said the campaign has been a success: “We received official support from Liverpool FC. As it stands we’ve raised about £13,500 with three weeks to go, so we’re happy with the response.”

Reds are aiming to raise £50,000 to cover overheads and improvements needed on the Borough Park ground. Funds already raised provide some security going into the unusual circumstances of their centenary season.

“It could mean reduced capacity, contactless payments and certain restrictions on food and drink. Despite this we’re really looking forward to football returning to Borough Park.”