IT’S been a long wait - six weeks to be precise - but Walney Island are finally back in action on Saturday.

And as boss Steve McCullough prepares to take his promotion chasers to Rossendale in a West Lancashire League Division Two top v second showdown, he said his side were raring to go as they look to continue their rich vein of form.

“With the weather and the way the fixtures have fallen, it has ended up a six week break which is not ideal, but we have been training up to Christmas and over Christmas. and the lads have been working hard,” said McCullough.

“It’s not the same as playing matches of course but we’re raring to go and ready for the Rossendale game.

“Most of the other teams have had a lay off too and it’s just something you have to deal with.”

It’s an accepted part of non-league football that the elements can mean the season grinds to a halt in the winter, especially around January when the weather is at its bleakest.

But it has been dry this week and McCullough is working on the assumption that it’s all systems go for tomorrow’s game in East Lancashire.

And what a game it promises to be as league leaders Walney face off against their nearest challengers.

McCullough’s side have banged in an amazing 74 league goals so far this term, a feat all the more eye-catching given the fact that talismanic striker Matthew Lockley has been sidelined for the last eight weeks.

Lockley, who perennially tops the Walney goalscoring charts, is suffering from a hamstring problem and though he is nearing a return, McCullough said he will not be risked at Rossendale.

However, in Lockley’s absence, James Bailey and Kieran Solloway have stepped up to the mark manfully to keep the supply of goals flowing.

“Matthew’s on his way back but we have to wrap him in cotton wool a little bit and not rush it,” said McCullough, who was full of praise for Bailey and Solloway’s efforts.

But despite dropping just seven points all season, Walney have not been able to shake off Rossendale, who are just three points behind with a game in hand.

Newly admitted to the league this season, the Lancastrians have recruited well and have a number of players who have performed at a higher level.

And they should provide a stern test for McCullough’s side in what promises to be a belated Christmas cracker of a fixture.