NEWPORT County AFC will return to action in League Two after six months on the sidelines on the weekend of September 12.

The Exiles last played on March 10, when beaten 2-0 at Carlisle, before the 2019/20 campaign was suspended and then cancelled.

County previously said that they were working on the assumption of an October start for next season but Michael Flynn’s side will now get under way in seven weeks.

“The EFL can confirm that the 2020/21 season will get under way across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two on the weekend of 12 September,” read a statement.

“The 2020/21 season will conclude on the 8 and 9 May 2021, with the Sky Bet Play-Off Finals reverting back to the Spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May.

“Work is currently under way in respect of fixture scheduling and details will be announced in due course as to when full fixture lists for 2020/21 will be made available.”

South Wales Argus:

The start date means that Flynn, who was placed on furlough along with his squad and staff in April, can now start plotting his pre-season preparations.

The manager will have to operate with a stripped-back squad because of the financial hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

He was unable to offer fresh contracts to key figures Scot Bennett and Jamille Matt, who has since joined League Two rivals Forest Green Rovers.

The Exiles hierarchy, meanwhile, can intensify their work regarding season tickets with the prospect of the campaign starting behind closed doors.

In England there are pilot schemes for the return of crowds with reduced capacity to allow social distancing.

Some fans will be allowed to attend the World Snooker Championship, horse racing at Glorious Goodwood and cricket fixtures between Middlesex and Surrey and Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

The hope is that crowds will be allowed on a wider scale from October in England but it is a devolved matter and County wait for guidance from the Welsh Government.

In the meantime, Exiles supporters will have to start the campaign by backing their team online.

South Wales Argus:

“The board took the view it would not be appropriate to sell season tickets for next season until we were able to categorically communicate what fans would be receiving for their money,” said a County statement last week.

“Whilst we have explored blended options such as iFollow live streaming if matches are played behind closed doors and then reverting to a traditional season ticket when fans are allowed in the stadium, there are complications which mean we would not be able to price the product accurately and could not guarantee we could deliver the product.

“We have been working with EFL colleagues and are hopeful that a product will be forthcoming very soon that we can then in turn offer to supporters with confidence.”

Swindon, Crewe, Plymouth and Northampton were promoted from League Two while Tranmere, Southend and Bolton were relegated from League One.

Stevenage Borough have dropped down to the National League to be replaced by Barrow while the play-offs will see Harrogate, Boreham Wood, Notts County or Barnet head up.