THE prospect of a restricted number of supporters being allowed back into EFL grounds this weekend is back on the cards.

The government have long planned to begin allowing crowds back into games in English professional football from October.

All matches at that level have taken place behind closed doors since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

Before that can happen, test events need to be held to assist in planning.

Also read: Watford will be below full strength at Oxford United tonight

The EFL have asked clubs to put in requests by today to host crowds of up to 1,000 this month.

Shrewsbury Town have confirmed they were notified at 11.30am and "despite the very limited notice" have lodged an application for their home game with Northampton Town.

Oxford United could be in a position to take advantage, as they host Sunderland on Saturday, but have not confirmed yet whether they have volunteered.

An EFL spokesman said: “The league is clear in its view that social distancing can be applied safely in football stadia and that having crowds at matches is an absolutely essential part of helping to protect club finances, which remain under extreme pressure.

“Therefore, the successful delivery of further pilots will be an important step towards getting larger number of fans into grounds safely.

“The EFL will continue its dialogue with DCMS and the SGSA (Sports Grounds Safety Authority) to ensure that evidence and insight secured from these events helps to inform the government’s position on welcoming back supporters post October 1.”

It had been felt the chances of getting crowds back in next month were fading amid the rising number of coronavirus cases.

The tighter restrictions announced last week saw plans to allow 2,000 in to watch Cambridge United's League Two opener with Carlisle United on Saturday cancelled.

The EFL’s head of policy John Nagle has written to the 72 member clubs setting out what happens next.

“We now understand that the next 48 hours are likely to be critical in terms of determining the direction of travel on this issue,” Nagle wrote in a letter which has been seen by the PA news agency.

“Amongst other things, this will include a meeting between the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden MP and senior administrators from across sport, which will be attended by EFL chairman Rick Parry.”

The letter states that EFL clubs will make a collective loss of £200million if fans do not return in the 2020-21 season, and have already lost £50m in gate income from last term.