AS a local boy, the absence of fans at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday will be felt more keenly by Matty Taylor.

The Oxford United striker from Kidlington is used to having family and friends in the stands, but they have had to watch from afar this season as coronavirus restrictions force games behind closed doors.

The U’s will miss supporters even more this weekend, when a bumper crowd would surely have roared the hosts on as they aim to beat Burton Albion and reach the Sky Bet League One play-offs.

Grenoble Road welcomed 11,815 fans the last time United went into the final day with their fate undecided, with a 3-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers sealing promotion from League Two exactly five years ago.

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And Taylor knows it would have been a similar story on Sunday.

The striker said: “It would 100 per cent be a sell-out.

“I’ve said it numerous times this season, the fans are massive to the whole experience and the game that we play and love.

“They’re a huge miss and the sooner we can get them back the better.”

The next relaxation of coronavirus restrictions on May 17 means United could fill the Kassam Stadium by up to 25 per cent – just over 3,000 people – if they reached a play-off semi-final.

Demand for tickets would be huge, including among the family members of Oxfordshire-born players like Taylor, Josh Ruffels and Sam Long.

The 31-year-old said: “My nan’s itching to come and watch a game.

“When there were a couple of games with fans in she was meant to come to the next one.

“Ruffs’ parents go home and away, Longy’s as well, it’s Oxford fans in the family.

“It makes it a bit more special, so fingers crossed we get that opportunity to have another bash at it.”

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He added: “My parents watch nearly every week on iFollow, same with the rest of my family.

“My missus and my two little boys will be cheering me on.

“My eldest tells me how many I’ll score – sometimes he’s a bit optimistic and says four, so I have to rein him in a bit.

“It’ll be a rollercoaster of a day, like these days always are.

“It’s exciting to be involved in, we’d have snapped your hand off after the start just to be in this position and take it down to the last game.

“We’ll enjoy it, hopefully win the game and fingers crossed there will be a few slip-ups and we’ll be getting ready for the play-offs.”

Taylor goes into what could be his last game of the season on 17 goals, the same as he managed in 2019/20.

He passed up the chance to score at Shrewsbury Town last Saturday, playing in Elliot Lee instead, and insists he will be just as unselfish on Sunday.

Taylor said: “I don’t mind who scores as long as we win.

“If I think the pass is a better option than shooting, I’ll do it.

“If I get a goal then great, but if we win the game and sneak into the play-offs then even better.”