"It will be great to have fans back," says Burnley boss Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche believes that the re-admittance of fans inside football stadiums is a significant step in the right direction.
For the first time in just over nine months, the Clarets will be involved in a Premier League fixture where supporters will be seated in the stands.
Granted it won't be their own fans housed inside the Emirates on Sunday, but the Burnley boss has described the definitive moment as a 'starting point'.
Some 2,000 Gunners watched on when Arsenal brushed aside Rapid Vienna to preserve their unblemished record in Group B of the Europa League.
And there'll be an identical number present for the visit of Burnley. "It's brilliant, it's a starting point," said Dyche.
"It hasn't solved everything yet, but with news of the vaccine becoming available and being rolled out I think and hope that numbers will change quickly on the back of these early games and these low-ish numbers.
"Hopefully they'll build quickly along with the news from the Central Government. That's what we're hoping for.
"It will be great to have fans back in, it gives them a taste of the game again as they'll literally be pitchside.
"Science will win the day, hopefully, and fans can get back inside the stadiums quicker than we thought."
West Ham United's game against Manchester United at the London Stadium earlier this month marked the first top flight match since March to have fans inside the stadium.
The last fixture to go ahead without restrictions, prior to the pandemic, was Leicester City's 4-0 win against Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium.
Asked if the move was advantageous to those clubs operating in Tier 2 towns and cities, Dyche said: "It might be, just with the thought of going out there with fans. I don't think it's going to have the same power at this stage.
"If you're going to Old Trafford there's about 78,000 there and the vast majority are Manchester united fans.
"That's a whole different ball game to having 4,000 or whatever it may be. But it's a start. I think the key thing is people returning to football in stadiums, it's a big thing, and we hope it builds from there very quickly."
The Clarets haven't experienced a game with fans since the 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor last season.
But that could all change in time for Christmas with the Government set to review its Covid tier system on Wednesday.
Should Lancashire move out of the 'very high alert' bracket, and be placed into more relaxed measures, then Burnley supporters could return for the home game against Wolves on Monday, December 21st.
Dyche said: "It is helpful to have fans inside the stadium, for all clubs, but particularly ourselves because I think the fans have been excellent for us.
"They stand by the team regardless and I think that is effective for us. The players enjoy playing at the Turf, there's a familiar feel. It's helpful if you've got fans inside the stadium.
"There's a common sense view about distancing and all the rest of it, but it's not my decision."
He added: "There are people in much bigger positions than me that make these decisions and I'm sure that they're doing it with the health of the nation and beyond clearly imprinted in their thinking.
"We go along with what the rules are to the best of our ability, which isn't always easy because you look at the size of stadiums and think that you're closer to people when you walk down the street.
"But it's not always a common sense issue; there's a lot of top scientists out there giving advice to the Government and they're making decisions to the best of their ability.
"It's not going to suit everyone, but I think we're all attempting to play their part in trying to do the right thing."