Curle feels competitive playing field is still level despite not all clubs being allowed fans back into grounds

Keith Curle doesn't feel there is any unfair sporting advantage for the Sky Bet League One clubs that are allowed to welcome back supporters into their grounds this month.
Keith Curle is looking forward to seeing supporters back inside the PTS Academy StadiumKeith Curle is looking forward to seeing supporters back inside the PTS Academy Stadium
Keith Curle is looking forward to seeing supporters back inside the PTS Academy Stadium

The Cobblers welcome a total of 1,000 season ticket holders back to the PTS Academy Stadium this Saturday for the clash with Doncaster Rovers, with 2,000 set to attend home games thereafter.

It is the first time fans have been allowed back in at the Cobblers since a 2-1 league two defeat to Mansfield back on March 7, and Town boss Curle is delighted at the prospect.

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But some managers of other clubs aren't so happy about the situation.

Boss of this weekend's PTS visitors Darren Moore went on the record last week to say allowing supporters into some grounds is unfair on those that are still unable to.

The latest Governent Covid-19 regulations saw the vast majority of the country placed in either tier two or tier three, with those in the former allowed to welcome up to 2,000 supporters, while those in tier three have to keep their turnstiles locked.

Doncaster is in tier three which means Rovers will not yet have the backing of supporters at any of their home matches, and Moore said: "It’s not fair where some areas could might be able to get fans in and others you can’t It’s not fair in that sense.

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“I understand supporters must be in desperation to get back out and support their team on a Saturday afternoon. Their weekly routine has been heavily disrupted. I really do understand that because they’ve had to put up with it for so long.

"At the same time is it fair for the travelling teams to enter into a stadium with home fans and not be able to do the same at their own ground? You want it to be a level playing field across the board."

Curle says he 'can't wait' to welcome Cobblers fans back this weekend, and accepts they will be 'our 12th man' against Doncaster, but doesn't believe their attendance will have any unfair influence on the result.

"I think our supporters here will be our 12th man, but the game is played and won on the pitch, it's not played on the terraces," said Curle.

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"Is there an advantage (for the teams who can allow fans in)? No, I don't think so.

"Once this season we played in front of a crowd at Shrewsbury (on September 19) when they had a 1,000 or so fans, and we had a positive result that day (Town won 3-2).

"So will it be an advantage on Saturday just because we have 1,000 fans in the ground?

"I know the 1,000 that we get in will be shouting and screaming, and they will be our extra man I guarantee that. But will it actually help us on the pitch?"