Newcastle United head manager Steve Bruce is looking forward to his return with the Toon Army, despite not knowing what to expect.
As the troubled Magpies limped through a tough winter with unrest mounting from their missing supporters, the 60-year-old coach found himself a victim of social media trolls.
On Wednesday evening, 10,000 of them will return to St James' Park to watch their team tackle relegated
. Bruce has successfully navigated his team's ship across the stormy seas to safety this season.
Quizzed if he was concerned about how he may be propped, he said:
"No, no, not at all. I'm delighted they're back in. Whatever kind of reception I get, I'm delighted that the supporters are back in because I know how much it means.
"It's been a bloody long time since we've played with our supporters. Come in, let's go to the pub and have a few beers and come and support their team. Fantastic."
Fans last saw a game at St James' on February 29, 2018, just before Covid-19 sanctions took effect, and in the time since the club has struggled on and off the field, owing in part to a coronavirus epidemic.
Newcastle only won two of their 21 games in all competitions between mid-December and early April, losing 12, one of which was a 1-0 loss to the Blades on January 12, their first in thePremier League
at the 18th attempt.
"I certainly picked the wrong team, so I have to take full responsibility for it.
"But if you ever need the Premier League to show you what it is, Sheffield have been relegated, but they won at Goodison five days ago or whenever it was and they've also won at Old Trafford.
"That's the beauty of the Premier League and how tough it is. That doesn't happen in other leagues."
The Magpies are in an optimistic mood heading into the return, having celebrated their survival with a rousing performance in a 4-3 loss by champions Manchester City, and are aiming for success in their final two games to hit 45 points, one point more than last season.
"If we can get to 45 points with the problems we have had this season, then we'll accept it to a degree, but we all know that we still have aspirations to be better than that and that's what I've got to try to put in place if I possibly can."