Albion have hailed “a really important” first step as they prepare to welcome fans to the Amex.

Now they want see a government masterplan which takes them back to full stadia.

Albion will host 2,000 or 4,000 supporters if Brighton remains out of tier three as new Covid restrictions come into place after the second lockdown.

The first fans would come back for next weekend’s game at home to Southampton – but the club would make a financial loss with those numbers.

Deputy chairman and chief executive Paul Barber has revealed they are ready to safely accommodate up 8,000 spectators as things stand.

But he admits news that up to 4,000 could return so soon has sent a buzz around the club.

Barber said: “This is welcome news for us because it’s earlier than we expected and, psychologically, it’s really important for our staff, who have been working towards this for some time.

“Our fans have been really patient, really supportive and have had to bide their time.

“For all reasons this is a positive step but it can only be a first step and we need to understand what the road map is to getting bigger crowds back in our stadiums sooner rather than later.

“With crowds of 2,000-4,000, that is not a viable position for us for anything other than the short term.”

Albion will hold staff meetings today to be ready for Boris Johnson’s announcement tomorrow regarding the tier system.

Barber said: “As soon as we have confirmation of which tier we are in, then our safety officer will sit down with the operational staff and work out the stadium plan we are going to use, where we are going to put those fans and therefore how many staff we need to bring in to look after them.

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“I would stress again that safety is absolutely paramount.

“There is no point getting the green light to bring fans back if we don’t do it properly.

“We will be retracing our steps, where necessary updating our plans but the absolute priority is to keep people safe and to make sure when they come here they feel safe and we don’t see any increase in the infection rate on our city.

“That is going to be the same message for every club up and down the country.”