Up to 4,000 Ipswich Town fans could be back inside Portman Road next month

General view of the Portman Road pitch. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town's game at Fleetwood on January 2 is now in doubt after three more players tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town fans could be back inside Portman Road as soon as next month after the government announced the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed supporters can return to outdoor sporting events in tiers one and two, with those changes taking effect when lockdown is eased on December 2.

The Blues’ first home game after that date is the visit of Portsmouth on December 12.

It’s said clubs’ whose grounds are in tier one when lockdown ends could welcome back 4,000 fans or 50% of capacity, whichever is fewer, while tier two could mean 2,000 supporters are able to attend.

Suffolk was in tier one prior to the latest lockdown, with details of which tier the county will emerge into likely to be known later this week.

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It also remains to be seen whether any further restrictions are placed on people travelling between tiers and what that would mean for fans hoping to attend games.

Ipswich Town had spent time and money preparing Portman Road for the phased return of supporters, which had originally been planned for early October before an increase in virus cases nationally. They had also been given permission to allow 1,000 supporters into the ground for a pilot event.

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“We welcome today’s positive news from the Government,” club secretary, Stuart Hayton said.

“Obviously we have to wait until we find out which tier we are in and what restrictions will be in place but hopefully supporters will be back at Portman Road next month.

“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes in preparation for the return of fans and a lot of hard work still lies ahead but the announcement today will give everyone a lot of encouragement.”

The club had close to 9,000 season ticket holders renew for the new campaign, meaning only half would be able to attend from December 2 in a best-case scenario.

Town have played all 18 of their games this season behind-closed-doors.

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