ANDY Welsh says all he can do is control the controllables but admits Bury AFC are in for a “stop-start” season as a Covid cloud hangs over non-league football.

The phoenix club kick off their historic first ever campaign in the North West Counties League at home to Steeton at Radcliffe FC on Saturday.

Clubs continue to keep their fingers crossed there will be no final hiccups as coronavirus infection rates rise around the country.

But Welsh says he is concentrating on football matters and is looking forward to welcoming Steeton to the Neuven Stadium – AFC’s home for the season.

“All we can do is prepare as if we are playing a game of football and that is exactly what we are going to do,” he said.

“We have done our homework on Steeton and it is a game we are looking forward to.

“It is a game the whole of Bury is looking forward to.”

But Welsh is all too aware of the current climate which has already seen several non-league games further up the pyramid postponed due to players testing postitive for coronavirus.

“We know that it is more than likely going to be a stop-start season and that will be very unsettling for the players, coaches and fans alike,” he said.

“It’s not ideal but it is something we are going to have to deal with.”

Welsh is disappointed that only 300 fans will be allowed to watch the Steeton game in line with strict social distancing measures.

“I’m not sure what the capacity is at Radcliffe but I know, under normal circumstances, we would pack it out,” he added.

“So that is what disappoints me. The people of Bury haven’t had any football to cheer about for 12 months but thanks to the hard work of chairman Chris Murray and everyone else who has worked hard behind the scenes we now have. So it is shame everyone can’t be there to cheer us on on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, AFC have signed FC United’s all-time leading scorer Tom Greaves who links up again with Welsh having worked together at Ossett United.