Northern Premier League clubs have agreed – in principle – in favour of a merger with the Palace Shield.
But it is not yet a done deal as the ball has now been thrown back in the court of the Palace Shield clubs – including Torrisholme and Garstang – to say whether they are in favour of a go-ahead at their AGM this Monday.
If a merger was agreed then promotion and relegation between the two leagues would apply in time for the start of the 2018 season.
One potential sticking point has emerged; that concerns Cumbrian clubs Barrow and Penrith, who compete in the Northern Premier League alongside Morecambe and Lancaster.
Some Palace Shield clubs are said to have reservations of making such a lengthy away trip.
Another potential problem regarding a merger is that the Lancashire League may make overtures again to invite NPL clubs to take part in their set-up, with Darwen making the move next season.
A previous attempt fell through after some NPL clubs, including Morecambe, showed initial interest about joining.
Leagues are in negotiations about their future structures in a bid to maintain their ‘premier’ status under ECB rules with promotion and relegation one of their requirements.