Nairn County manager Ronnie Sharp is backing calls for an earlier start to the new Highland League season during the summer.
The league yesterday called a halt to the 2020-21 season, declaring Brora Rangers as champions in order for them to participate in the pyramid play-offs despite the Cattachs having only played three games.
With contact training not permitted without testing until May 17, Sharp is keen to see a quick return to sessions after that date, in order to facilitate as early a start to the new campaign as possible.
Sharp said: “I think they need to look at starting slightly earlier. Just because other leagues start in August doesn’t mean we have to.
“We are allowed contact on May 17, but I would quite like to see us allowed back for pre-season then.
“We could then start in July, when you’d probably get better crowds and better weather.
“I think you would get better quality of play, as sometimes the pitches can be a problem later in the season.
“In the summer they would all be in good condition, and with a better quality product we would maybe get more supporters in.
“We could take in all the cups next season and give ourselves a bit of time. We could take less midweek games as I think they are becoming a problem.
“When the country is trying to get back on its feet, a lot of guys don’t know exactly where they are going to be working. Some people can work from home but not everybody is able to do that.”
Sharp feels the premature calling of the current campaign was inevitable given how unviable testing was for Highland League clubs.
Nairn briefly returned to training ahead of their 7-1 defeat to Montrose in the Scottish Cup last week, but he feels drawing a line under the league season was the sensible decision.
Sharp added: “We would have to test to do contact training, and nobody was going to be spending that money.
“We went through three rounds of testing for the Scottish Cup, and it’s a lot of money.
“It’s not feasible for Highland League clubs. It was fine as a one off for the Scottish Cup, and for the teams that are still in it, at least when they progress they get money to cover the expenses.
“For the Highland League, I did not see how we could manage it.
“As we found out, coming back with two weeks’ training wasn’t enough for us.”