COVID continues to wreak havoc with Witton Albion’s schedule as the new year begins.

Both of their scheduled games so far in 2022 – the New Year’s Day trip to Nantwich Town and their game at Buxton on Tuesday – fell victim to an increased number of cases in the Albion camp.

The virus also put paid to their pre-Christmas clash with South Shields, although they did manage to field a team against Warrington Town on December 27.

As a result of their inactivity, they have slid down the Northern Premier League Premier Division table and now occupy a relegation play-off spot.

Carl Macauley’s men have as many as six games in hand on teams around them, making for a busy end to the season.

They aim to return to action by hosting Gainsborough Trinity, who are currently on a run of one win in seven league matches, on Saturday.

In the NPL West Division, 1874 Northwich will look to solidify their top-half position as they make the relatively short trip to Bootle.

The teams are side-by-side in the table, with the Merseysiders one place and five points better off in ninth.

Greens’ 2-1 loss to Runcorn Linnets on New Year’s Day was only their second in nine league outings, while their hosts are on a run of three straight wins including an impressive 3-0 victory at league leaders Marine on December 27.

Meanwhile, Northwich Victoria and Barnton are both set for their first games of 2022 on Saturday as the North West Counties League returns to action.

Having dropped into mid-table following a run of four defeats from five either side of Christmas, Vics will hope the new year brings better fortunes as they travel to Longridge Town.

Their hosts’ season has also been plagued by inconsistency as they sit 11th – two places and four points below Steve Wilkes’ men.

They were due to face Ashton Athletic last night, Wednesday, but prior to that, the Lancashire side had won just one of their past eight league games.

Barnton face the unenviable prospect of welcoming First Division South leaders West Didsbury and Chorlton to Townfield to kick off 2022.

The Villagers are on a solid run of their own – they are unbeaten in four including three draws – but face a side that have lost only once this season.

Meanwhile, Lostock Gralam will aim to reach the Cheshire FA Amateur Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

To do that, they must get past fellow Cheshire Football League Premier Division side Crewe FC away from home in the last eight.

Both senior teams at Winnington Avenue 94 are in action at Moss Farm – the first team face Newton Athletic while the reserves take on Golborne Sports’ second string.