Hares boss confident of promotion push amid frustration over season

March Town boss Arran Duke

March Town boss Arran Duke believes his team should start afresh in August and is confident he can help lead another promotion push next time round. - Credit: Ian Carter

March Town boss Arran Duke has full confidence that his team can mount another promotion push next season if the current campaign is declared null and void. 

The FA's alliance and leagues committees announced tonight (Wednesday) that they want to curtail the 2020-21 season "with immediate effect" after over 76 per cent of clubs between steps three and six of the non-league pyramid voted to end the campaign early.

The statement added that clubs voted to curtail the season early if it could not be restarted with limited crowds and hospitality before April 1.

But Duke is frustrated over the lack of clarity from the FA after it said the season at steps three to six had not yet been extended as a decision on whether to resume or end the campaign had not been decided.  

“Is playing each other in the league once an option? Probably not because it’s an unfair reflection of the season. It’s not how it should ever be judged," Duke said.

“I’d rather be playing a normal season in August than playing bits and pieces here and there."

The FA's decision to end the non-league season prematurely, due to be discussed with the FA Council, comes after it said the 2020-21 grassroots football season will be extended until the end of June following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s update on easing lockdown.

If the season does finish early again, it would be another blow to March who were on course to achieve promotion and were in two cup finals during the 2019-20 term. 

Duke said with the vaccination rollout gathering pace, he would prefer to start afresh in the summer and no competitive action between now and August is “a very long time to be waiting”. 

March vs Diss

As it stands, the grassroots game will return on March 29 but it is unclear whether the season at steps three to six of the non-league pyramid, which includes March Town, will resume. - Credit: Ian Carter

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“It’s the most frustrating period of football we’ve had because we’ve put a lot of time, effort in and getting no reward for it,” he said. 

“From a club perspective, we’d love to carry on where we’d left off because we’ve done really well this season and we look like we’re going to achieve our end goal. 

“If we have to go again, I’d be confident at the end of next season whenever that will be, we’ll be there or thereabouts again. 

“It’s certainly frustrating at the moment.”