All you need to know ahead of the return of 2,000 fans to Portman Road

Town fans celebrating at Portman Road. Packed scenes like this won't be seen for some time yet, but up to 4,000 spectators...

Only 2,000 socially distanced fans will be allowed back into Portman Road while the town is under Tier 2 restrictions - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town fans are set to return to their beloved Portman Road tomorrow after an agonising nine months away from live league football.

For the first time since last season's tie against Coventry City on March 7,  2,000 lucky season ticket holders will pass through the turnstiles after succeeding in the club's new ballot system.

Paul Lambert takes a sip of water during Town's 1-0 defeat against Coventry City at Portman Road Photo: ROSS HALLS

Town fans have not been at Portman Road since the 0-1 defeat to Coventry - Credit: Archant

The first game back is set to be a cracker, with third-place Town set to prove themselves against a promotion rival in fourth-place Portsmouth.

It will be an unusual return to the stands however for Blues fans, with strict restrictions put in place to help combat the spread of Covid-19.

There will be no pre-match pints in the concourse or the Fan Zone, and neither will there be any half-time Portman Pies.

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Fans will have to undergo a temperature scan before entering the ground and must stay in their seats - with a mask - for the duration of the game.

They will not be able to move around unless going to the toilet, and only the middle and upper tier of the East of England Co-Op Stand will open alongside both tiers of the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand.

Ipswich Town fans have had to send cardboard cut-outs of themselves to attend games at Portman Road

Ipswich Town fans are set to join their cardboard cut outs as they return to Portman Road - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

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Town manager Paul Lambert said he hopes fans will help be the 12th man.

He said: "The fans coming back, for me, is a great thing, albeit only 2,000 to start with. They'll certainly help us and that's what we need.

"We need the support behind us. I think it's a great thing."

Ipswich Town fan Luke Penning in his football shirt

Ipswich Town fan Luke Penning is excited to return to football - Credit: Luke Penning

One season ticket holder, Luke Penning, said he is excited to see his beloved Blues back in action.

He said: "I've missed going to see town play incredibly - for me it's more the routine side of it, for someone like me having a routine is essential for my mental health.

"I've missed the Saturday, Tuesday matchday experience, the social aspect of it - iFollow doesn't really come close. What I'm looking forward to is to be there back at Portman Road and supporting the team. 

"Even though it's the one game, it's a crucial one and it will add a sense of normality. I can't wait to be there."

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