Volunteers have been helping to spruce up Derwent Park as Workington Town welcomed the news that fans may be set to be allowed back into stadiums following the end of the latest lockdown.

It was announced by the Government this week that clubs in Tier 1 and 2 areas would be allowed a limited number of spectators in grounds and Town chairman Les Smallwood said this was good news for all sport, not just rugby league.

It is still unknown as to when the new rugby league season will start but Smallwood said this was a step in the right direction after a long lay-off due to the pandemic.

“All clubs are working closely with the RFL to figure out what a return to playing will look like and perhaps a return in front of crowds and when that could be,” he said.

“This is a tentative but more positive sign and hopefully sometime soon we will be able to welcome fans home to Derwent Park.”

And in readiness for the new league season, volunteers have been busy at the ground when Covid restrictions allowed.

The pitch has previously been relaid and now extra drainage laid so that it will not be too heavy in certain areas.

All of the grandstand and around the ground has also been spruced up, awaiting fans’ return.

Plans are continuing as although a bar will be retained on the popular side, the old rough and ready bar will be made into a wrestle room to allow more Covid-secure training for the side.

And work is ongoing to provide more changing facilities for the community clubs and youth teams when they play at the ground.

“We hold regular takeover days with local community clubs and having more changing facilities to accommodate teams will be an added bonus to all the good work that Graeme Peers and Gary Hewer will be doing in the community,” added Smallwood.

“So although our season was put on hold and we haven’t started pre-season yet, we have been busy in the background, making sure that the ground is in tip-top shape for when supporters can return, which hopefully will be soon.”

Town have this week indicated that they will be applying to the RFL to win a place in next year’s Betfred Championship.

With several of the Championship sides currently vying for the vacant Super League berth, left by Toronto Wolfpack, there will be a spare place – and Town are keen to fill it.

If successful they would join neighbours Whitehaven in the competition.

Smallwood said: “We’ve analysed the criteria and we meet it all.

“The board have thought long and hard as to whether to apply.

“We would prefer to achieve promotion through the usual process, but have decided that we have to apply when circumstances have presented the opportunity.

“We are a club with a strategy to get to the Championship anyway and all of the things we have been putting in place over the last few seasons is based on being a solid Championship club.

“We look forward to submitting a compelling case to the RFL.”