PICKERING Town manager Steve Roberts believes that this season “will be lost” and that null and void is again the most likely outcome.

Pickering’s action in the Pitching In Northern Premier League north/west division was suspended last week following the government’s introduction of a third national lockdown last week.

Currently, only ‘Elite sport’, which in football is Step 2 and above, can be played behind closed doors.

The move has thrown into doubt whether the rest of non-league can complete their campaigns, including in the NPL north/west division where the majority of the sides have played less than 10 of their scheduled 36 league matches.

The NPL have also stated that matches cannot begin again until after March 6.

Their statement last week also showed their support for a null and voiding of the season, alongside the Southern League and the Isthmian League.

Pikes boss Roberts is in agreement with the league and thinks that a second successive cancelled season now looks inevitable.

“I think we will lose this season and if they said ‘We’re just going to start next season’, for me now, I’d accept that and start planning for that normal season.”

“Listening to what’s being said by the government, if restrictions are loosened in March, does that mean that football can come back straightaway again – I don’t think it will.

“There will still be some restrictions in place for football, there may be 15 per cent of fans allowed, where some clubs do struggle to make money from that.”

There have been murmurs that the division could be split up, with a potential play-off campaign at the end, to reduce the number of matches.

Roberts has doubts that even that format could succeed.

The Town boss continued: “Looking at things now, I even worry that a split league will become almost impossible because if we are back by March, how do you get players back to start playing again straightaway when they haven’t trained or played games for nine to 10 weeks?

“It’s like having a full pre-season off and then coming back and playing again within a week, which then means we’ll have injuries left, right and centre.

“It’s very difficult. It’s sad to say, but I think we’re getting close to the only option being to null and void the season again, which is really sad.

“But, if they did that, and we had the guarantee of a normal season next season, at the moment, I think that would be the right thing to do.

“I think all of us as managers want that normality back.

“A full season would be fantastic and if that’s the way we have to go, that’s the way we should go.”

Roberts also added that he was understanding of the move to halt the season amid the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

“I wasn’t frustrated because we’ve almost gone behind the frustration side of things now, because understanding the situation it is surreal what is going on,” he said.

“It is the right thing to do because people’s health is the main priority at this time, so sport does have to stop unfortunately.

“I just had to contact the players and say that there’s going to be no training again for the foreseeable future and until we know what’s going on.

“Now it looks like there’s going to be nothing going on until at least March at the minimum.”