Play-off proposal could see Preston North End in one-legged semi-final

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Preston North End could make the play-offs even if the season as a whole could not be completed.

The EFL are still planning to try and play the 2019/20 campaign to a finish.

However, a contingency measure to decide promotion if all the games cannot be played reportedly involves a shortened play-off event.

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Current league positions would be used, with the top two automatically promoted.

Sean Maguire scores for Preston in the 2-1 victory over Fulham at Deepdale in DecemberSean Maguire scores for Preston in the 2-1 victory over Fulham at Deepdale in December
Sean Maguire scores for Preston in the 2-1 victory over Fulham at Deepdale in December | World Copyright © 2019 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (

There would then be the play-offs but those would be a one-legged semi-final at a neutral venue with the winners meeting in the final.

Such a scenario would see PNE – who were sixth when the season was halted – face third-placed Fulham.

Brentford, in fourth, would play fifth-placed Nottingham Forest.

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North End have played Fulham twice this season, tasting a victory and a defeat.

They won 2-1 at Deepdale last December with goals from Sean Maguire and David Nugent.

On February 29, North End lost 2-0 to Fulham at Craven Cottage. That was their last away day before the season got put on hold.

The idea of this different play-off method is only a proposal at this stage.

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Of course it would not decide things at the other end of the table.

The EFL’s focus remains fixed on its teams completing their remaining fixtures.

Championship clubs are in favour of doing everything possible for that to happen, although such support might not be as strong in Leagues One and Two.

A return date of May 16 for training has been suggested, although further advice will have to be taken before then.

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Ideally, the EFL want to get the season restarted early in June and complete it within 56 days which is certainly achievable. However, that will need the approval of the Government.

If they do not think it is safe for football to resume, the suspension of the season will stay in place.

Even if the sport could start, games would be behind closed doors as social distancing measures do not allow for mass gatherings.

It is believed that fans could be barred from grounds until early 2021.

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So not only will this season finish behind closed doors, next season would start with empty stadiums.

The Premier League held a four-hour conference call of their 20 clubs yesterday.

Their resolve remained strong to finish the season and another meeting is planned for next Friday.

By then, the Government might have announced a road map for how some of the lockdown measures might be eased – football needing that guidance.