Carlisle United fans will be able to return to the Brunton Park stands this weekend for the first time in more than six months.

The Blues are one of 10 EFL clubs to have been given permission for up to 1,000 spectators to attend their matches this weekend, with Chris Beech’s side set to welcome Southend United to Cumbria on Saturday (1pm ko).

The move is part of the ongoing ‘return of fans’ programme and follows a successful pilot staged at Cambridge United last week.

EFL chair Rick Parry said: “It’s encouraging that we are in a position to move forward with the next phase of the pilot programme and give a small number of our clubs the opportunity to welcome back up to 1,000 fans this week.

“The health and wellbeing of supporters and their wider communities remains the priority, but as we showed at Cambridge, social distancing can be applied safely.

“By extending across more EFL clubs we hope to further demonstrate that the measures developed can allow fans to return in greater numbers from as early as next month.

“The requirement to welcome spectators back through turnstiles has not diminished in any way, the financial challenges facing EFL clubs have been explained on numerous occasions, they are substantial and a problem that requires immediate solutions."

Discussions are ongoing with the Government about the possibility of more supporters returning to grounds after October 1.

Oliver Dowden, the Government’s culture secretary, said: "I know that many fans are eager to return to football and that jobs depend on this too, so fans will welcome news that the EFL will be running number capped, covid secure, and socially distanced pilots this weekend.

“This will help us build the evidence base to see how we can return fans safely in greater numbers as soon as it is safe to do so."