KNUTSFORD FC chairman Jimmy Evans says these are challenging times for running community football clubs.

The availability of players and spiralling costs are central to the difficulties being felt at Manchester Road.

Reds are currently plying their trade in Cheshire Football League Division One after suffering relegation last season and sit in 10th place, 16 points off the top-two pace.

In terms of the team’s performances so far this season, Evans says: “We continue to be a work in progress and are adapting to this new league.

“We are competitive and when we can get our side out and play to our level, we are a top-six team.

“In 16 games, we haven’t once been able to put out the same side from week to week due to the biggest issue in non-league football, player availability.”

He explained why he thinks this is the case.

“The new generation of footballers have a different attitude and commitment than years past and aren’t regularly available to play or train,” he said.

Off the pitch, the challenges are just as tough.

“Costs keep going up, especially utility bills, yet income is harder to generate than ever before,” he said.

“Clubs continue to rely on a small band of dedicated though ageing volunteers to keep the show on the road and it’s a challenge for all clubs.”

Reds have 14 league games remaining this season plus a Mid Cheshire League Cup semi-final and CFL League Cup first-round contest.

Evans is not convinced there will be any more matches this year due to the wintry weather.

“Fingers crossed for some better weather and that we gain some consistency and momentum,”said Evans.

“There was no game last Saturday – the pitch and pipes were frozen and when it thaws, we will be waterlogged!

“We are due to be away at Vulcan on Saturday but the weather and forecast are not promising.

“There are no fixtures on Saturday 24th or 31st, but we’ll then be back in action at Denton on January 7 in the League Cup

“This time of year is always a challenge with the weather and a very strong case for a winter break.”