SWINDON Town coach Tommy Wright is forecasting a “massive boom” in football once fans are allowed to return to stadiums.

Due to Covid-19 concerns preventing fans from attending live sport, Town missed out on what would have surely been a five-figure crowd on Saturday as ex-Premier League side Sunderland arrived at the County Ground in League One.

Goals from Charlie Wyke and Chris Maguire handed the Black Cats all three points, but Town were very much in the game for the majority, and Wright felt a swelled home crowd could have potentially helped his team to a different result.

Nonetheless, the Town coach believes football’s sense of gratitude will increase significantly once supporters are allowed to watch their team in the flesh once again.

He said: “As fans, I understand that you want your team to do well – we understand that as coaches.

“The thing that I do think though, is that when fans do come back, I think they’ll be appreciated a bit more now because football without them is not the same.

“I’m sure they’re missing it as well, so when this Covid-19 situation is sorted and fans are allowed back into the ground, I think you might see a massive boom in football.

“People now realise how much it means to everybody in the community – to fans, definitely to me.”

At 1-0 down, Town emerged from the second half a different team following a change of shape as well as two attacking substitutions.

However, with a barren Town End behind Sunderland, the visitors saw out the spell of pressure from their hosts before making the game safe around the hour.

Wright reiterated his view that a huge home crowd would have recognised Town’s domination and provided that extra 10 per cent his team needed to equalise.

He said: “I thought ‘hmm, maybe it won’t be so bad’ initially, but it’s a massive loss, to me.

“I think the fans would have driven us onto a result on Saturday.

“I know Sunderland would have probably brought 3,000 as well to make it a full house, but it would have been a lot better, and I just can’t wait until the fans get back really.

“That’s not an excuse because we’re on a bad run, because of course it’s the same for everybody, but I just think people will appreciate football more when this is all over.”