DESPITE having almost 500 games under his belt as their manager, Steeton's Roy Mason concedes the 2019-20 season so far has been one of his toughest.

He blames a high volume of players used, a frustrating summer of recruitment and a large reliance on youngsters as factors behind the Chevrons' poor start to the season in North West Counties League Division One North.

Steeton are bottom of the table with just 12 points, with just three wins from their opening 17 league games.

They are also looking for a new home as their groundshare with Keighley Cougars will finish at the end of this season.

The Chevrons were informed the deal, which began in August last year, will end after Cougars served notice on them playing at Cougar Park.

This will mean that in order for Steeton to continue playing at Step 6 they will have to find a new home for the 2020/21 season and beyond.

Mason says Steeton hope to announce their new home before Christmas.

His side are coming into a busy period, with five games during December starting this weekend, unbeaten in two after the previous two games which they lost 8-0 and 5-0. Their home league clash with Chadderton last Saturday was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

They now host Atherton Laburnam Rovers at Cougar Park on Saturday, before a trip to Holker Old Boys seven days later.

This clash will be followed by a home date with Prestwich Heys on Saturday, December 21. The Chevrons will travel to Nelson on Boxing Day, with Steeton's final fixture of 2019 being their home encounter with Garstang on Saturday, December 28.

Mason, who has been in charge at Steeton since 2006, said: "This is the toughest season I have had personally as a manager. We have had off-the-field problems this year.

"We didn't manage to recruit as well as we had liked over the summer. I can't remember having so many injuries.

"We've probably used more players than we used by this stage before.

"It was frustrating that we didn't play on Saturday, particularly after the two results before. The last two results have given me a little bit of hope.

"That's something that has really hurt us this year. When we have been on top in games we haven't been able to convert it into goals.

"The side we have got is so young, that if something goes wrong, their heads can go down. We just switch off at vital moments. We haven't got enough experienced players to calm down and regroup.

"They are a good bunch who want to learn and want to improve. As a team we are only going to get better.

"A lot of the players we have got are lads who are aged 21 and under. They have been in academies and been successful and never had a period in their careers when things have gone against them.

"They just have to keep riding out, as it's the first time they have ever experienced anything in their footballing careers when it's been tough. I think they will come out better footballers.

"We have improved our starting 11. We're now beginning to get a bit of a settled side. We have changed our system. That's taken time for us.

"We have gone through four or five centre-halves already this season. Sam Rooke and Steve Pearson have been key injuries for us. They are experienced players."

Mason says the club has come a long way in a short space of time and says the future is rosy, especially when they resolve their home ground issue.

He added: "We have had a couple of meetings that have been very positive. Hopefully we can announce something publicly in the next couple of weeks.

"I know where we are at. We're up against a lot of teams in this league who have big budgets.

"We are fighting above our weight really. People have forgotten how far we have come. We have gone from being an amateur side. We're only in our second season in non-league football. We have held our own."