Dundalk may not admit any supporters to Oriel Park even if they are allowed to when the new league season commences at the end of the month.

With fixtures released on Monday evening, excitement is growing amongst fans for the return of the SSE Airtricity League on July 31st.

However, while Government regulations currently allow for 500 to attend outdoor events, manager Vinny Perth said it might be more hassle than it is worth opening the doors of Oriel Park to fans given how few will be able to attend.

“The problem is that the way football has gone now between journalists and both sets of clubs, you may not get many in,” he said.

“It’s all right saying there’s 500 allowed in but 200 people may already be part of that figure. It could be as little as 300 and you’d have to question whether it’s worth the risk of bringing another 300 people into your ground.

“We’ll have to consider everything. That’s why we’re slowly but surely learning from the friendlies behind closed doors and we’ll add things to that as the weeks go on but it’s hard to know at the moment.”

The story as it appeared in The Argus on July 14th

Perth said it was his view that social distancing would mean that there would be no room for fans in the stand at Oriel Park.

“If there were 500 allowed in the ground you could have no home supporters in the main stand because of the design of Oriel because between journalists, opposition, staff, technical staff, kit men, chairmen, subs etc there could be 100 people in the shed and that’s it.

“That creates a bigger problem then for the club potentially but we’re learning all the time.

“We got an email from Derry City last night remarking how they had learned from what we did on Friday. They thought it was exceptional the way we ran the game. They used our home and away dressing rooms, we used the ones on the other side and the referees were really pleased with everything we did so we’ve ticked that box that we know how to host a game now for players and staff so the next step is to bring in the media people and ultimately the final part of that will be the fans but we need people to be patient with us,” he said.

The manager admitted he missed having fans in Oriel – something which the side may have to get used to as UEFA confirmed last week that all of its European qualifiers this summer would be played behind closed doors regardless of any individual football association or Government’s stance on crowds attending.

“It’s difficult and it’s something we’ve got to get used to,” he said when asked how the behind closed doors experience felt.

“It’s surreal. We went 1-1 the other day with a half an hour to go, we were the dominant side and had a huge amount of the ball but you would miss the Shed driving you on for that last half an hour.

“Now, to be fair, both teams made eight or nine changes but even in the first half we had a huge amount of possession and a lot of changes and you’d miss the noise of the whole ground driving you on. Even as a manager you’d miss it for your energy levels.

“It’s hard to know when the money is on the table what it is going to be like but for friendlies definitely you’d miss the crowd,” he said.