THE 2020-21 season begins in earnest tonight for 1874 Northwich and Northwich Victoria.

Both sides have FA Cup extra preliminary round home ties tonight, with fans allowed in to watch their first taste of competitive football in almost six months.

Townfield will host a tasty-looking tie between the sides who made up the North West Counties League Premier Division’s top two before coronavirus curtailed the 2019-20 campaign as 1874 host the newly-renamed Warrington Rylands 1906.

1874 hold a cup victory over Rylands from last season – a penalty shoot-out win after the sides drew 1-1 in a Macron Challenge Cup clash last December.

At Wincham Park, Vics boss Steve Wilkes will come face-to-face with very familiar opponents as they host Padiham – a team Wilkes managed over 500 times over two spells earlier in his career.

By coincidence, Padiham also provided the opposition for Vics’ last game before the Covid-19 lockdown – a 3-1 league victory at Wincham Park on March 14.

New rules in this year’s FA Cup mean replays are scrapped. In the event of a draw after 90 minutes, there will be no extra time and the game will be decided by a penalty shoot-out.

Both sides will have home ties in the preliminary round on Saturday, September 12, should they win tomorrow night.

Vics would face the winners of the clash between Athersley Recreation and Charnock Richard while ’74 are playing for the right to host Northern Premier League side Clitheroe.

Both games kick off at 7.45pm and Covid guidelines mean attendance at both is limited to 300 spectators.