OXFORD United fans will finally be back at the Kassam Stadium next Saturday.

The U’s have confirmed the Sky Bet League One clash with Hull City on December 5 will be used as a trial game for the return of supporters, with capacity limited to 1,000.

If the pilot is successful, United can then let in 2,000 fans for the visit of Forest Green Rovers in the Papa John’s Trophy three days later.

It comes after Oxfordshire was yesterday placed in tier two of coronavirus restrictions by the government.

On Sunday it will be nine months since U’s fans last watched a home game – the 2-1 victory over Southend United on February 29.

Stadia in the middle tier are currently capped at 2,000 supporters per game, but United’s managing director Niall McWilliams believes the sight of even a small number of fans inside the ground will be a boost.

He said: “It’s been so long I almost can’t put the emotion into words.

“Even if it’s 1,000 people it’ll make an enormous difference.

“It’ll lift people’s spirits and I’m hoping it’s the first sign of normality returning.

“It’s a significant stride forward.”

U’s fans last watched their team live at Shrewsbury Town on March 7, when a 3-2 win ultimately sealed a play-off place when the 2019/20 campaign was decided on points per game.

The visit of Hull must serve as United’s trial game, after they did not hold one like some other clubs in September.

At that point fans were set to be allowed back inside grounds in October, but the government pressed pause when cases of coronavirus increased nationwide.

If next Saturday’s game passes the test, United will qualify for the next stage of safety certificate and be able to double the number of supporters against Forest Green.

The club submitted plans for a trial game with 1,000 fans several weeks ago and McWilliams is not anticipating any problems.

He said: “We’ve done so much work I don’t see it causing any major issues.”

The U’s held talks with the safety advisory group this week and will hold another ‘major’ meeting on Monday.

More information on the Hull game is set to come out today, but season -ticket holders will be given priority, McWilliams confirmed.

Other details, such as a fans’ code of conduct reportedly being finalised by the government, are yet to be confirmed.