IT will be two weeks yet till the Super League fixtures are announced, but at least we know how the format will work with loops and Magic remaining.

If last year’s method for determining Magic fixtures applies again then Saints (3) will play Wigan (1) in the showpiece – but no date has yet been confirmed for the weekend.

It is, however, to be later in the year given the Challenge Cup Final triple-header takes place at Wembley on June 8. Given the demands on football stadia, that could mean a July or early August date.

Formulating fixtures have been a little more problematic for a diminished League 1.

The lowest rung of the semi-professional ladder has been reduced in recent years with the loss of West Wales Raiders and London Skolars, plus the decision of relegated Championship side Newcastle Thunder deciding to pull-out.

There are still discussions taking place in the North East, but there will be a League 1 of either eight or nine clubs comprising heartlands clubs Keighley, Hunslet, Workington, Rochdale and Oldham plus development area sides Cornwall, Midlands and North Wales.

It is a tough slog for those in a small league, and provisionally a nine-club league will see teams play 20 games, 10 home and 10 away with four loops.

The contingency for an eight-team league will see each team play each other three times for 21 fixtures.

There is also going to be an expanded 1895 Cup competition with group stages.

Moving forward beyond this year, with expansion of the top flight unlikely until there are a sufficient number of Grade A clubs, then alternatives for the Championship may see an argument for one big league comprising 14 + 8 (9).

One that would be resisted would be relegating three Championship teams and promoting just one at the end of next season to deliver a more equal 12 and 11 team divisions.

But this is likely to be viewed at another exercise in shuffling the deckchairs.

As all the attention has understandably been at the top division, and the clamber to get out of it from the Championship, the difficulties faced by League One.

Oldham, coached by Sean Long, have big plans and with the side they have assembled they will bounce through that division and look to advance further. There is no doubt that they have a burning desire to get back at the top table – as one of the founder Super League members.

For the other clubs – looking at the way Skolars, Raiders and Thunder have gone – probably just have to put their heads down and keep going.

There’s a school of thought that says the lowest rung is no longer a viable, sustainable division and that will sadly, but naturally wither away.

Others seek to try and keep those clubs and that division alive, although it is not awash with trickle down cash from the top table. But how can it be sustained?

Everyone has an opinion – but Championship clubs, who have their own self-interest, are unlikely to want to get bogged down by the lower rung teams in ‘one big division’.

So how can we expand League 1?

The most interesting idea floated by some observers is sending in the Reserve Grades of leading Super League clubs.

That has pros and cons.

On the plus side, fans of St Helens, Warrington and Wigan, would probably take an interest in visiting the likes of North Wales, Workington, Oldham and maybe even Cornwall as long as it did not clash with the first team game on the Friday.

After all, don’t we hear a lot on that matter when yearning for an open draw in the Challenge Cup so fans can get to places off the beaten Super League track.

They wouldn’t travel in droves – but probably more than the standard League 1 visiting fans.

Those clubs would have a big rugby league name in town, although admittedly being the second string.

The opposing players may even fancy trying to catch the eye of a top-flight scout in such games.

And thirdly, it would enable the fringe players of Saints and Wigan etc to play regularly together, and allow any promoted from the Academy to get used to playing against seasoned grown men – and that would aid their development.

The downside is that it could block the promotion of the League 1 clubs, but much of the natural ups and downs will be taken away by the grading system.

The other alternative, that purists and traditionalists don't seem to want to contemplate, is that eventually all clubs that have no realistic hope of being a Grade A Super League club could end up being feeder teams for the top-flight.

It may sound unpalatable - but short of a knight in shining armour, so many of these clubs are going to find it tough to just hang on.