AFTER an unscheduled Christmas break, football will finally return to the region tomorrow.

It’s the last-eight of the NEWFA Challenge Cup, with three ties set to go ahead and Cymru North Buckley Town are well prepared for their tie at North East Wales League Cefn Mawr Rangers - the lowest-ranked team left in the competition.

“We haven’t stopped training,” said Buckley boss Dan Moore on the unscheduled break.

“We have trained every week. We haven’t played for three weeks and we’re going into a game versus a team we have never played before.”

While the NEWFA Challenge Cup is always an important competition, it has taken on a greater importance for Buckley as they have progressed through the rounds.

“This competition is important for a number of reasons, but it’s been challenging in the last few years to have a go at it because the Cymru Leagues don’t allow it to be played on a Saturday when there are league fixtures,” added Moore, who has a full strength side to pick from.

Saltney Town have a score to settle in their tie at FC Queen’s Park.

“The lads will be up for this one after getting beat on pens in our last meeting in the Welsh Trophy,” said Saltney boss Andy Dutton, who has signed Tom Rowlands, Sam Spridgeon, Ben Barrett and Matty Woodward during the Christmas break.

It will be the first game in three weeks for Saltney, who have had a number of Covid cases in the camp as Welsh football was put into shutdown.

“I had Covid over Christmas and so did four or five of my lads but we’re all clear now with a full squad available,” added Dutton, who guided his side to the last-16 of the Welsh Cup this season.

“It’s a big bonus for us getting these lads in to strengthen the squad. The staff and management team have worked really hard to get the lads we needed.”

Park will look to Barry Torrence to fire them into the semi-finals while Ardal North West League title chasers Mold Alex have home advantage versus Cymru North Ruthin Town.

Alex boss Mike Cunningham, who picked up the manager of the month award over the Christmas break, said: “It’s been a strange couple of weeks for us.

“We were all disappointed with our level of performance against Llay and with the enforced break it hasn’t given us a chance to put it right.

“We have had a lot of the lads self-isolating over Christmas at some point so it’s been far from ideal when trying to incorporate training sessions.”

Conner Kendrick and Sam Thomas have left the club, joining Cefn Albion and Rhydymwyn respectively.

The big clash between Chirk AAA and Chirk Town has been postponed.

In a Tweet, Chirk AAA said: “Both clubs agreed that the Government ruling of a maximum of 50 spectators was totally unmanageable and, as per Covid protocol, have agreed to postpone the game to a later date.”