The Coasters’ league meeting with Aldershot Town tomorrow at Mill Farm will be played as normal – as will the division’s other fixtures this weekend – following the decision to suspend all matches in the Premier League and EFL until the first weekend of April at the earliest.
Castle said: “We and they clearly trust the Chief Medical Officer within the government, and we are following the current government guidelines.
“I’ve been in constant communication with Jim Bentley, and I think from a whole footballing department, they’re desperate for the game to be on. We’ve had a real positive week, claiming four points out of six, and they want to continue that into tomorrow’s game.
“We have a genuine duty of care towards all our employees and supporters, and we will be reminding them of all of the important points of sensible hygiene throughout tomorrow.”
The current NHS guidelines are here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Castle is clear that the focus among the club should be “business as usual”, whilst categorically acknowledging the need to keep close attention on government advice.
The Chief Executive also encourages supporters of fellow Lancashire clubs and beyond to gain their football fix at Mill Farm tomorrow afternoon, with the Coasters’ clash the only fixture in the area, due to proceed in England’s top five leagues.
“It is business as usual until we learn otherwise. I believe there was a National League board meeting this afternoon following the announcement from the Premier League and EFL, and the message we got from the National League is that as it stands, they are following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer.
“The medical experts are the specialists, we’re not. Things may change in this situation, but right now, the guidelines are stating that we are good to play.
“I’ve spoken to our Safety Officer at the club and to the police, and we welcome supporters of all clubs down to the game. Mill Farm is an extremely hospitable place with some excellent facilities here; we know there are quite a few travelling fans from Sunderland whose game at Blackpool was sadly called off, and we would be delighted to welcome them into the home end to help cheer on the Coasters.”
Finally, Castle looks back on his first three weeks in his new role at Mill Farm, and pinpoints Tuesday night’s dramatic victory at Dagenham & Redbridge as a key moment in the season.
“Tuesday’s win was huge. There was no better way than to win it in the 94th minute – Jim went out there with an attacking philosophy and we could’ve had more goals, but to win in that nature and bottle up that momentum for tomorrow is massive.
“It’s certainly been an interesting time since I arrived here: my first week, we had a game postponed, my second week, we brought in two players, and my third week, we’ve had the coronavirus news. But I can’t give enough platitudes to the Chairman, he’s been absolutely superb, and this is an exceptionally well-run club with some great people, facilities and a clear vision.
“My first job is to help to keep us in the National League this season, and we’ve had some clear and direct communication with the players and coaching staff – we’re all on the same page. I’m loving it so far – it’s a superb club.”