Preston North End WILL be ready for the Championship’s restart date

Preston North End are happy with the proposed June 20 restart for the Championship.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 8:00 am

The EFL chose Sunday night to formally announce the return-to-action plan.

Although the timing of the announcement caught clubs on the hop, June 20 is the start date which PNE have been working to of late.

Yesterday, Queens Park Rangers reacted angrily to the EFL’s plans.

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PNE manager Alex Neil with club advisor Peter Ridsdale

Their chief executive Lee Hoos said the London club were ‘appalled’ by the June 20 resumption, adding they were ‘not a lone voice’ in taking such a view.

Other Championship clubs have greeted the news in a more positive way, North End among them.

Peter Ridsdale, advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings, told the Lancashire Post: “We have been working towards June 20 for a while now, we have made no secret of that.

“When the players started training last Monday, we knew they had about four weeks to get ready.

“Some people do seem to have been surprised by this but they have been in the same meetings as I have.

“I think the surprise was the announcement being made on Sunday night with just a few minutes’ notice to the Championship clubs.

“We are happy to start on June 20 and it gives everyone a date to focus on.

“As a club we are thinking positively about this.

“Our attitude is if that’s what we have to do, let’s do it.”

The next step for PNE will be introducing contact in training.

At the moment, the players are working in groups of five and do not mix beyond that.

North End hope contact work will resume later in the week, with them following EFL guidance on the subject.

Said Ridsdale: “We need to get back contact training as soon as we can.

“We’ve had a document from the EFL about it and have been working through that.

“It’s a 47-page document on safety and we have to fill in our section about how we propose to deal with it, what safeguards are being put in place and how the players will approach it.

“We won’t be in a position to have contact training in the early part of the week but we hope to start later in the week.

“The players were tested again yesterday morning and we will have those results back in a day or so.”

When the season resumes, games will be played in the same order they appeared on the fixture list initially.

So North End are set to start against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.

There will be five weekends and four midweeks used to finish the regular season, with the play-offs in late July.

The play-off final is due to be played on July 30.