UP TO 2,000 fans could be allowed back into St Mary's next month after Southampton was placed into tier two of the government's new post-lockdown regional restrictions, which will be introduced next week.

As set out in previous announcements, from Wednesday outdoor sports events will be permitted to welcome back up to 2,000 supporters for areas in tier two, which could see Saints have fans for their Premier League home game with Sheffield United on December 13.

It would be the first time supporters have been welcomed into the stadium since March.

Brighton & Hove Albion, who Saints face next weekend, are also in a tier two area, meaning they can also have 2,000 fans in the first match after the second national lockdown ends on Wednesday.

The new measures are set to be reviewed on December 16.

If Southampton then moves into tier one, up to 4,000 fans could be permitted.