OFFICIALS with two West Fife women's football clubs are keeping their fingers crossed for a return soon – even if the form it may take remains unclear.

In December, Dunfermline Athletic Ladies and Bayside Ladies, who are part of the Scottish Women's Football League (SWFL) set-up, saw their campaigns brought to a close because of COVID-19 restrictions.

After the calendar had been hit by adverse weather prior to the announcement of lockdown measures last March, matches resumed in October but different tiers of restrictions across local authority areas, before a national lockdown was announced, made it difficult for a large number of outstanding fixtures to be completed.

Dunfermline, coached by Murdo Steven, had played just two games in the 10-team Championship division, while their under-21 team and Bayside, coached by Ross Wortley, competed in the North/East division.

Both had played four matches, with Bayside, who had recorded three wins, sitting second, and the Pars in fourth place.

Discussions on when competitive football may return – currently, outdoor adult contact sport is scheduled to resume on May 17 – and the format it may take are believed to be taking place but both Pars chair Alan Martin, and Wortley, are itching to get back.

Alan said: "Girls who are under 12 have all been able to get back for non-contact sessions, which has been fantastic.

"We trialled one on a Saturday with the under-11 girls and it worked really well; 45-minute sessions, non-contact, and it just got them in with a ball at their feet.

"It was great to see them come back in their wee groups over the last few weeks and it was like they haven't been away. That was really pleasing to see.

"In actual fact, we've gained another four players since January, which is great. We're very lucky that we've seen an interest in taking up football. That's a positive, and I've got a couple of local firms who have agreed to sponsor our under-sevens kit, which was another big surprise and we're really pleased about that.

"It was good for the coaches as well. There are challenges in terms of what's happening with the ladies for example; there's discussions with the SWF about what's going to happen in regard to the Championship.

"The hunger is still there; I think everyone is just a bit jaded by coming back for non-contact sessions, a couple of friendlies, and then lockdown again. I think that took it out of everyone because they'd got their hopes up.

"I don't know what it's going to look like for us – we'll have to see who Murdo gets back. The tell-tale will be when he announces we're all back for training, who's in?

"Then we'll get a real feel for how does it look and how we're lining up."

Ross commented: "It's a shame (that the season was halted) because we were flying. I think it was the last game we played, actually, that was our first defeat.

"We were flying, momentum was there, there's just such a good team spirit, we'd built a really good squad and, bang, it stops again.

"It's been stop-start. I would've thought they might have lost interest but I've been putting posts up on our page basically saying everybody's there for each other, and myself and the rest of my staff are all there for the players. We're here to talk and if they want to talk, we're here to listen. It's keeping wee messages going like that and they've been really upbeat about it.

"It's worse for them but it's quite hard as a manager to keep 18 players together. You try to speak to them all individually if they want or message here and there – that's like a full-time job in itself!

"It's like I want to start planning, and getting into the head that we're starting back in just say three weeks for example, but I can't. They're asking me, 'Have you heard anything yet?' but I've heard nothing. I can't say to them we're starting in three weeks, we're starting in four weeks. It's just a waiting game."