NORTHWICH Victoria have entered administration for the third time since 2004, and face a 10-point deduction by the Northern Premier League.

The Division One South side currently occupy 18th place, but will drop to the bottom of the table if officials apply the sanction before this weekend’s round of matches.

Owner Martin Rushe has said his family no longer has the money to support the club.

He applied to the high court in Manchester last week, when Refresh Recovery were appointed as administrators.

However the club only confirmed as much in a brief statement issued on Wednesday afternoon.

“This decision has been made to safeguard the company’s future,” it reads.

“Supporters can rest assured that the intention is to find new owners.”

It confirmed too that a group of fans from the Northwich Victoria Supporters’ Association is in talks to take over.

The league, after making public the club's position a fortnight ago, has so far declined the Guardian’s invitation to comment further.

Meanwhile Vics are scheduled to host Belper on Sunday.

A ground-share arrangement with Witton Albion will be unaffected, according to Mark Harris – the landlords’ chairman.

“Nothing has changed – they have to continue paying us if they want to carry on using the stadium,” he said.

“So far, they’ve been pretty good at maintaining the agreement.”

Vics are playing at Wincham Park for a second season.

Their tenancy there is due to expire in April.

Harris added: “I’d like to pay tribute to the small band of volunteers that are running the club; they’ve really stepped up to the mark.

“However I can assure Witton’s supporters that we will hold them to every penny they owe.

“As chairman, I have a duty to our shareholders to do that.”

On Thursday, Vics posted a brief message to their followers via their social media pages.

It said: “Due to constraints placed on us after entering administration, we would welcome any financial help – by way of donations – as well as volunteers to assist us in getting the club into supporters’ hands.”

This is the second time that Refresh, based in Skelmersdale, has acted as administrator.

They were appointed by former chairman Jim Rushe – Martin’s father – in 2009, when the club had a tax bill totalling £450,000.

However they could not reach agreement with HM Revenue and Customs on the terms of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), and were replaced later the same year.

Vics’ current financial position is unclear, and the latest set of accounts is more than four months late according to Companies House.

The previous summary, published in July 2015, revealed the club owed creditors more than £260,000.

“My family’s enthusiasm and effort to drive the club forward has been unstinting and it is with great sadness we can’t take it in the direction we would wish,” said Rushe in a statement published on Vics’ official website last month.

“Therefore we have decided it must be handed over to the supporters, and we have been working tirelessly with our advisors in the past few months to ensure a smooth and solvent transition.”

Vics, then a member of non-league football’s top tier, were the first English club to suffer a 10-point deduction for entering administration in 2004.

They had run out of money to finish building a new stadium in Wincham after selling the Drill Field, prompting a sale to Manchester businessman Mike Connett.

He sold Vics to a small consortium, which included the Rushe family, three years later.