CHESTER FC is planning to welcome back fans to the Deva Stadium for the first time in nine months, following the Government's announcement of revised coronavirus restrictions.

There had been hopes the Blues would be able to play in front of a limited, socially distanced crowd at the start of the current National League North season, but those hopes were dashed when the league was categorised as 'elite sport', meaning no fans were allowed to attend.

This was despite the hard work of club volunteers to ensure a seating plan had been arranged for all season ticket-holders.

The club then set up a live streaming service, allowing fans to watch the matches live.

Now, the club hopes, fans can return for the first first-team Chester FC game at the Deva Stadium since the Cheshire Senior Cup match against Tranmere Rovers on March 3, and the first league game since the Brackley Town match on February 22.

A Chester FC spokesperson said: "Following today’s [November 26] announcement that Cheshire West an Chester has been placed in Tier 2, Chester Football Club can now look forward to welcoming our fans back to the Deva Stadium.

"A significant amount of work has already been undertaken in preparation for the safe return of supporters. The club will review the updated guidance in conjunction with the National League and the Safety Advisory Group to determine the socially distanced capacity and gain approval for the new matchday protocols.

"Subject to the above, it is hoped a limited number of supporters will be permitted to attend the home match with Hereford on Tuesday, December 8.

"Your absence has been greatly felt over the last nine months and we will provide further updates over the coming days in preparation for your return.

"This will include arrangements for collecting season ticket cards and we wish to remind supporters the ticket office remains closed at present.

"Our overriding priority is the health and wellbeing of our volunteers, staff, players and fans, and this guides every decision we make.

"Please continue to keep safe, follow the latest Government guidelines and play your part in reducing the infection rate across Chester & Cheshire West.

"Thank you for your continued support and understanding."