MELIDEN manager Gareth Jones is looking forward to seeing fans back watching competitive games next season.

With the current coronavirus concerns preventing the NWCFA Tier 4 (East) Premier Division campaign from taking place in 2020/21, the Miners are now busy working on plans for next season with COVID-19 cases decreasing across the country and vaccines being rolled out at a rapid rate.

The club made some eye-catching appointments from the previous set-up at Prestatyn Town, but Jones admitted it has been difficult to keep players motivated over the last 12 months with almost nothing in the way of activity to look forward to.

He said: “As with every football club in the country, we have a WhatsApp group for the players which enables us to keep in regular touch with the lads. The group chat is normally non-stop with banter but has been very quiet during this period of no football.

The coaching staff and I have set a couple of challenges for the lads to keep them fit and interested, which they’ve embraced and has become pretty competitive.”

Jones wants to see supporters return to watch when the new campaign begins, which comes with much-needed game day revenue that has been sorely missed by grassroots clubs across the country.

Meliden are sure to be involved in some hotly contested matches against the likes of CPD Y Rhyl 1879, Prestatyn Sports and Rhuddlan Town after securing the necessary criteria to take their places in Tier 4, and Jones is hoping the uncertainty at grassroots level does not prevent clubs from returning to normality.

“Hopefully when football does resume, we won’t see any major effects and clubs can get back to some normality although allowing fans back is a must,” he added.

“Taking money on the gate or at the tea bar is a major source of income which clubs at this level rely on to survive. The 2021/2022 season will be pitting local teams together in some mouth-watering derbies so having fans watching again is something we’re all looking forward to.

“It’s been a strange and difficult period for all clubs with the emphasis being on making sure there is still everything in place when football does resume such as keeping players, managers, coaches and committee members interested and involved.

“We’re all praying football is back sooner rather than later.”