HEYBRIDGE Swifts have Zoom-ed in to bring players and officials up to speed, writes JON LONGMAN.

The Swifts were online just hours after the Prime Minister had outlined his plans, giving the lower steps of non-league football the opportunity to resume after the second nationwide lockdown.

Training resumed on Tuesday evening and the club have lined up two friendlies to get the squad match fit before the Isthmian North fixtures resume.

The Swifts will play Brightlingsea next Tuesday (7.45pm) and Ware on Saturday week (3pm) before the home league game against Tilbury on Saturday December 19 (3pm).

Spectators will be admitted subject to the tight Tier Two Covid regulations that will be in place and the midweek meeting of club chairmen or proxies confirming that the season can resume.

Swifts chairman Gary White said: “We had a positive and productive Zoom meeting with 35 members of the management, coaching staff and players logged on for the briefing.

“I outlined the club’s strategy and also history and traditions for the many new players who have come into both squads in recent months.

“This was a good opportunity to catch up after three weeks in the second lockdown since our 1-1 draw at AFC Sudbury..

“It was a really positive get together given the encouraging news from the Government a few hours earlier on the lockdown changes.”

Swifts secretary Steve Crisp added: “The Isthmian league have kept all the clubs regularly updated on news from the FA and Government and have allowed a degree of flexibility as to when fixtures resume and also in terms of rearranging matches that were postponed in November.

“They have extended the season to May 22 to avoid squeezing in missed games and this will be crucial to some of the sides like Maldon and Tiptree, and Canvey Island, who have had extended cup runs.

“The derby game with Maldon & Tiptree is scheduled to go ahead on Boxing Day at the Aspen Waite Arena (3pm) and given the latest information on crowds this should not see any restrictions imposed.

“So we hope to have a good attendance for what promises to be a really good game against a Maldon and Tiptree side once again riding high and setting the pace in the division.”

Crisp sounded a words of caution because he fears further delays and cancellations in 2021: “The league has given December 19 as the Isthmian restart date and clubs are rearranging postponed fixtures and the new dates can be found on the Swifts website.”

“The league is extending the season to accommodate this. It has also given permission for clubs to play fixtures ahead of the restart date by mutual consent.”