Scott Parker insists the return of fans is “massive” for Fulham ahead of their Premier League clash with champions Liverpool.
Craven Cottage last opened its doors to the public on February 29 for a 2-0 win over Preston in the Sky Bet Championship, with supporters yet to watch their side live following their return to the top flight this term.
Parker is embracing the limited return of up to 2,000 fans, which is permitted as London is currently placed in tier two of the government’s coronavirus restrictions system, although it could be a short-lived reunion as a review of the capital’s status is set to take place early next week.
“I think it’ll have a massive impact to be fair,” the Fulham boss said.
“It’s been such a long time since the players [last played in front of fans] and the stadium has been pretty empty.
“For large parts of our careers as players or managers we play with fans, that’s what our game is about really, the passion and dynamic that fans bring, so we’re fortunate enough that we can have fans in our stadium this weekend and we’re looking forward to it.
“During a massive part of our season, after lockdown and getting promotion, the fans weren’t there to enjoy it with the team and it probably lost a little something from that, in terms of the memories, not of course the achievements but like anything you want to share that with the fans because they’re arguably the most important people.”
Fulham are in the middle of a difficult run of fixtures; despite a surprise victory at Leicester they have also suffered a defeat to Manchester City and now face Liverpool as they strive for Premier League survival.
In recent matches, last season’s Championship golden-boot winner Aleksandar Mitrovic has been named on the bench, although Parker insists the striker will have a part to play this season.
“I’m sure Alex will be the first to want to play every week but the way it is at the moment he hasn’t,” he said.
“But like I’ve said many times before, he’ll have a large part – like he has at this point – to play this year as well.
“His attitude and his professionalism will get him back into that place where he needs to be.”