THE EFL will stage pilots with up to 1,000 supporters at matches, this weekend.

Some clubs will welcome a limited number of fans back into their stadium, following approval from the government.

EFL clubs were asked to put in requests by today (Tuesday), in order for their plans to be signed off in time for a limited number of test events.

Colchester United host Bolton Wanderers in their first home game of the new League Two season, this weekend.

And the confirmation of the pilot scheme raises hopes among U's followers that a limited number of them could be back at the JobServe Community Stadium as early as this Saturday.

It has not yet been confirmed whether Colchester's match will be selected as one of the fixtures to host a limited number of fans.

U's fans have not been permitted to attend games at the Community Stadium since February, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The last time Colchester fans attended a home league game at the stadium was the League Two contest against Cheltenham Town, on February 29.

In a letter to clubs, as reported by the BBC, the EFL's head of policy John Nagle said: "We cannot guarantee at this stage that all clubs that would like to stage a pilot will be given permission to do so, as only a limited number will be approved.

"We are still in discussions with regard to pilot matches on other dates."

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden will meet with sports bodies later this week to discuss the planned return of spectators to sport from the start of next month.

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston confirmed the news in a letter to former sports minister Tracey Crouch, with a view to drawing up plans to reintroduce fans to grounds with reduced capacities at EFL level in the coming months.

He wrote: "The government wants to see spectators back at sports events as soon and as safely as possible.

"We have made important progress in staging a series of pilot and test events across different sports with more to follow.

"The pilot programme will continue throughout September, restricted to a maximum capacity of 1,000 people.

"The success of these events will be reviewed ahead of the current date of October 1 for reopening for socially distanced spectators under covid-secure conditions more widely if public health conditions permit.

"The events have been selected to test a range of different event styles across the country's major men's and women's sports.

"A number of successful pilots have already been completed, including snooker at the Crucible, cricket at Edgbaston and football at Brighton and Hove Albion.

"I know how important this is for sports clubs for whom paying spectators are vital. That is why we amended guidance to provide extra clarification for organisers of non-elite sport events to help them manage and admit spectators safely, adhering to social distancing.

"As stated in my previous response, it is up to the respective governing bodies to determine what constitutes the boundary between elite and non-elite within their sports.

"In football's case, the FA's definition means that only leagues below National League north and south can continue with spectators.

"However, subject to the successful staging of the pilot programme and the wider public health conditions, we hope to reopen elite sports fixtures including the National League for socially distanced spectators under covid-secure conditions from October 1.

"We continue to work closely with a whole range of sports to understand the latest thinking that may allow increased numbers of spectators to return.

"This includes the creation of a new Sports Technology Innovation Working Group of sporting bodies and health experts to analyse new technologies which might support this."