OXFORD City ordered their first batch of coronavirus testing kits yesterday in the hope their season continues.

The Vanarama National League South club have not played since competition bosses suspended the campaign for two weeks on January 22 following talks over funding.

Matches are set to resume on Saturday, but under the cloud of an ongoing vote on whether the season should be cancelled.

Some clubs are thought to be reluctant to return to action while the issue remains unresolved, but City want to play on.

The National League and its North and South divisions are the only levels of elite football that do not test players for Covid regularly and director of football Justin Merritt insists it must be the priority.

He said: “If we had to lose a player (to pay for testing), we’d do that for the safety element.

“Ultimately, we hope there’d be some package to support clubs.

“For us to return to playing and continue the season we need to make sure players and staff are safe.”

Oxford City director of football Justin Merritt in 2017 with club director Paul Lyon at Court Place Farm

Oxford City director of football Justin Merritt in 2017 with club director Paul Lyon at Court Place Farm

English Football League (EFL) clubs only started getting

twice-weekly Covid tests last month, funded by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA).

While the PFA might not pay for a similar programme in the National League, it is thought grants could be available from other sources.

Merritt feels City have a ‘moral duty’ to continue after the National League received £10m from the government’s coronavirus winter survival package, with their share expiring last month.

On Monday, the National League distributed four resolutions to finalise the outcome of the season.

City opted for the first one, which they believe is more likely to mean the season continues, as clubs in the top division hold greater weight under prescribed voting conditions.

David Oldfield’s side will be keen to play on, having embarked on a

nine-game unbeaten run that has put them fifth in the table and into the last 16 of the Buildbase FA Trophy.

They return to action in that competition on Saturday, when they host Pitching In Southern League Premier Central side Peterborough Sports.

Their opponents’ league season has been on hold since November and match could effectively be their final game of 2020/21.

But with the uncertainty surrounding the National League, City boss David Oldfield feels his side are in a similar position.

He said: “We’ve played one or two teams that have needed to win to continue their season and we’re in that same boat.

“This game is vitally important to the club going forward.”