AFC Wimbledon have announced plans to make their long-awaited move to Plough Lane for the visit of Doncaster on November 3.
The Dons have made returning to the site, where the original Wimbledon club spent 80 years, a goal since their foundation in 2002, with the finish line now in sight.
In a statement on the club’s website, chief executive Joe Palmer said: “If all goes to plan, the Doncaster game will mark a real milestone. Not only will we be opening the doors on our brand new home, we will also be witnessing the start of a brand new era for our club.”
The club left their former home at Kingsmeadow at the end of last season, and have been using QPR’s Loftus Road so far this campaign while the finishing touches are put to the new Plough Lane stadium.
The November 3 date is subject to the stadium receiving a safety certificate after hosting a test event.
Both that test event and the Doncaster match itself are to be held behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Palmer added: “While all this is fantastic news and November 3 promises to be a momentous occasion for everyone, it looks highly likely there will be one major ingredient missing when Glyn (Hodges) leads his team out for that first game.
“If anybody deserves to be there that night it is, of course, you. We had hoped that at least some – if not all – fans would be allowed back into stadiums by October but, as you know by now, the government has currently abandoned those plans.
“There have even been dark murmurings that we might not see fans at football until next March, although I can assure you there is a lot of activity going on behind the scenes.
“Pressure is being continuously applied on behalf of Football League and National League clubs, with local MPs up and down the country lobbying the Government to ease Covid regulations.
“While everyone’s number one priority is safety, there is a powerful argument for a more pragmatic approach to live, open-air sport – and a real push to see fans back before Christmas.”