Deepdale advisor Peter Ridsdale say Preston North End are committed to playing to a finish

Peter Ridsdale says Preston remain committed to playing the Championship season to a conclusion.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 22nd May 2020, 8:00 am

The EFL yesterday put out a statement saying, ‘Resuming the 2019/20 season with the existing format remains the most appropriate course of action from a sporting integrity perspective’.

It did, however, put plans in place for any curtailment of the campaign – League Two last week voted to end the season due to the financial implications of Covid-19.

League One could follow that course next week but the Championship does look set to resume next month.

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Preston North End advisor Peter Ridsdale

Ridsdale, advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings, told the Lancashire Post: “Our preference is to play to a finish and that has never changed.

“Whether we were to finish third, fourth, fifth, sixth, 10th or 11th, the only fair way is to play 46 games because that is what we are contracted to do.

“The consensus in the Championship seems to be to try and play to a conclusion.

“Hull City are the only one so far to come out absolutely against that.”

The EFL says that in the event of a division not being able to play to a finish, 51% of clubs would have to agree.

Unweighted points per game would be used to decide final positions, with promotion and relegation still in place – the play-offs would also be played if possible.

Were that to happen in the Championship, North End would finish sixth – as they were when the season was suspended in March.

The desire is to get back playing, though, and it is understood that the new start date being worked towards is Saturday, June 20.

Initially, June 6 was aimed for and then June 13.

Despite that delay, the plan is still to conclude the season by July 31, with five weekends and four midweeks used to finish the regular season, followed by the play-offs.

There would be three kick-off times on a Saturday or Sunday, while midweek matches would start at 6pm and 8pm.

That is to make it easier to broadcast and live stream matches.

PNE, in line with their fellow Championship clubs, are due back in training on Monday morning.

A big part of the return protocol saw the North End squad and backroom staff have Covid-19 tests yesterday at the Springfields training ground.

Ridsdale said: “Everyone was given a separate time slot to turn up at the training ground and be tested.

“We will get the results back in the next couple of days and then hopefully the players can start training on Monday.

“All our lads have signed up to the return-to-training protocol.”