THE opening round of matches in the new Ebac Northern League season will take place on Saturday, July 31.

The 2020-21 Northern League season was curtailed early and declared null and void because of the coronavirus pandemic, but preparations for the new campaign are already well under way, with the league set to hold its annual general meeting virtually on June 19.

The make-up of the Northern League will change next season, with Shildon, Stockton Town and Hebburn Town set to be promoted out of the First Division as part of an FA-led shake-up of the pyramid system.

“Hopefully, we can all look forward to welcoming spectators back into our clubs and having a full, uninterrupted season ahead of us,” said Northern League chairman Glenn Youngman. “We have all missed our regular football fix.

“The new season heralds a significant change for our league – with three clubs being promoted from our First Division into the new Step 4 league for the region, along with three teams being promoted from the Second Division and clubs coming into our league from our feeder leagues. But the new season will still mean that our league can offer some great games.”