Danny Cowley's excitement as Portsmouth fans' return moves closer

Danny Cowley eyed the prospect of fans roaring Pompey on in the play-offs and vowed: No club will benefit more.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 4:26 pm

The Blues boss told of his certainty at how much the return of supporters this season will aid his side as they aim to achieve a top-six finish.

The play-off dates were confirmed this week with the semi-finals taking place on May 18 and 19 with the returns on May 21 and 22.

Those encounters take place after the May 17 date laid down by prime minister, Boris Johnson from which some fans can watch live outdoor events as part of his roadmap out of lockdown.

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The limits are capped at 4,000 or 50 per cent of capacity for outdoor venues (whichever’s lowest), although larger stadiums can accommodate as many as 10,000 fans.

The Premier League will also see fans in their games over the final two matchweeks, with supporters at Wembley for the upcoming domestic cup fixtures.

This offers an exciting prospect for Pompey fans who’ve been missing since 2,000 returned for games against Peterborough and Fleetwood in December, before more restrictions were imposed.

A packed Fratton end for Pompey's 2-0 triumph over Sunderland in February 2020 - in which James Bolton scored. Picture: Joe Pepler

And it’s one which massively lifts Cowley, who is aware of what it could mean for his team.

He said: ‘First of all we need to get to the play-offs, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

‘But if we did and supporters were back in that would be huge for us.

‘We would benefit more than any other football club in England.

‘It would be huge for us, unbelievable.

‘We’re not going to lie, that would massively add for us - it would be a massive, massive benefit.

‘We can’t control that, so we would have to wait and see, but it would be brilliant to have supporters back in.

‘We would love them to be at Fratton Park and enjoy the play-off games, which are always great occasions.’

Cowley has spoken on many occasions of how the high-tempo game he wants his side to play with requires fuelling, with energy brought by supporters.

It was an approach employed successfully at Lincoln, where the 42-year-old talked of ‘coaching’ the fans and bringing a synergy between them and his players.

Cowley added: ‘It’s incredibly powerful when you get like-minded people with passion, energy and enthusiasm all driving for the same objective and same goal. It takes some stopping, that is for sure.

‘That’s what we are going to hopefully work towards and hopefully we can win enough games and experience that - firstly in the play-offs and then next season.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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