Neil Warnock says the return of fans to the Riverside would be the perfect Christmas present after the government gave the green light for crowds to return to football matches.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night announced a new tiered system in effect from December 2 with the return of crowds is subject to regulations in place for an area.
Clubs in Tier One areas could be allowed a maximum of 4,000 spectators, with Tier Two regions seeing at most 2,000, while those placed in Tier Three will not be able to welcome fans back immediately.
Teesside was due to be placed in Tier Three before the latest lockdown, but it will become clear if the region is set remain at that level with an announcement due on Thursday.
“I implore everyone in Teesside to stick to what the government are saying and try to be careful,” said Warnock. “We need to get the tier down from what it was going to be to get fans back in.
“I’ve tried to get the fans to imagine that they’re here and get the excitement going. What a Christmas present that would be…getting 2,000 in the place.
“It’ll be a handicap when some clubs have crowds and others don’t, but I’m delighted just to have fans back in anywhere at the moment.
“To let them have their own club back and to be able to go to games is something to look forward to. We’ve just got to hope we’re in Tier Two or try and get our area into Tier Two so we can have these fans back in.”
Boro were one of a handful clubs to have taken part in a pilot scheme back in September when 1,000 fans were admitted to the game against Bournemouth. The club has also been pro-active in supporting the #LetFansIn campaign.
“There were no problems at all with our game against Bournemouth and it was disappointing we couldn’t do it again and continue,” said the boss. “Our club was super that day.
“It’s hard for government to get it right. I couldn’t understand why golf couldn’t be played because you can’t have a more self-isolating game than that, but they’re doing things for a reason and we have to adhere to it.”