Derby County begin the new Championship season on Saturday with a home match against Huddersfield Town.
The clash will mark the first game that there will be no Covid-related restrictions on the number of fans who can visit Pride Park.
The Rams survived the Championship drop by the skin of their teeth last time out and will be hopeful of avoiding relegation once more this campaign.
Newly-appointed Derby Captain, Tom Lawrence, has highlighted the importance of the fans and spoke to the club’s media team about their return for the Huddersfield fixture: “It’s going to be tough game, there is no easy game in the Championship.
“Like I say, throughout the season, there’s going to be tough times but there’s going to be good times as well, so we’ve all got to stick together.
“We’ve been waiting a long time [for fans to return], I don’t know how long it’s been but it feels a very long time.”
“To have the supporters back cheering us on, driving us forwards it’s going to be a massive help for us.”
The Welsh international has been linked with a move away this summer, but he now has additional responsibilities as club captain.
It will be excellent to see fans returning to stadia across the EFL this weekend. It has been nearly 18 months since grounds were last full, but it remains to be seen what kind of effect that will have.
Teams have probably grown accustomed to playing without crowds, making it difficult to judge how players respond to the change.
Lawrence will not be worrying about the transfer speculation. He will be fully focused on his new responsibilities as captain and will be excited to lead his team out onto the pitch come Saturday at 3pm.
It is set to be another tough year for The Rams with off-field issues continuing to surround the club, but come kick-off at the weekend, it comes down to who can do more with the football.