THIS weekend's pilot event at Riverside Stadium is a "great step forward," says Cherries boss Jason Tindall.

Middlesbrough's clash with Cherries has been selected among a handful of EFL matches to allow 1,000 home fans back into their grounds, the first time that has been allowed for a competitive league fixture since March.

And Tindall hopes it can soon lead to supporters returning to Vitality Stadium.

"It's strange not having the fans in stadiums," Tindall told the Daily Echo.

"Hopefully this weekend goes well. It's a good sign for the future of this football club, to get our fans back here to the Vitality. We've certainly missed them. I've missed them, I'm sure the team has missed them and I'm sure they've missed seeing the team.

"Hopefully we can get as many fans back in the stadium as quickly as possible."

Quizzed on if Boro having home supporters suddenly makes this a trickier contest than it would have been behind closed doors, Tindall added: "I think it will be nice, whether it be home or away. It's one for the fans to be able to come and see their team play that they've loved and followed for so long is a great step forward.

"Hopefully that will only improve and more fans will be able to come into stadiums and soon hopefully we'll be able to get many of our fans back here at the Vitality seeing the team that they love and cheering us on."