Matheus Pereira scored twice as West Brom boosted their title hopes at Sheffield Wednesday, while Wayne Rooney's winner saw Derby County close on the play-off spots.

Championship leaders Leeds United were held to a 1-1 draw by Luton Town on Tuesday and the Baggies closed the gap to just one point with a 3-0 victory at Hillsborough.

Charlie Austin's first-half penalty was added to by a brace from Pereira after the break as Slaven Bilic's side restored their five-point cushion in the final automatic promotion place.

The play-off places are what Derby and Preston are chasing and it was the Rams who came out on top at Deepdale thanks to Rooney.

England's all-time leading scorer found the net with a first-half free-kick to leave Derby one point behind sixth-placed Cardiff City.

Nottingham Forest, who Derby face next, strengthened their grip on one of the play-off berths, Tiago Silva scoring the only goal in 1 -0 victory over Bristol City.

At the other end of the table, Huddersfield Town climbed out of the relegation places with a 3-0 success at Birmingham City.

Karlan Grant, Fraizer Campbell and Elias Kachunga scored the goals for the Terriers, who were replaced in the bottom three by Hull City.

Leeds United missed the chance to go six points clear at the top of the Championship while Brentford boosted their promotion hopes further.

Marcelo Bielsa's men could have strengthened their grip on top spot with a home win over the league's bottom club Luton Town but were held to a 1-1 draw.

Substitute Harry Cornick gave Luton a surprise 50th-minute lead, only for Stuart Dallas to respond 13 minutes later.

West Brom can cut Leeds' advantage to one point with victory in their midweek trip to Sheffield Wednesday but will be looking over their shoulder at surging Brentford.

The Bees made it three wins from three since the resumption of the season - and four in four - goals from Bryan Mbeumo, Josh Dasilva and Joel Valencia securing a 3-0 defeat of Reading that moves them within two points of the Baggies in the second automatic promotion spot.

Fulham are two points further back after Cyrus Christie's 75th-minute effort earned a 2-1 triumph over west London rivals QPR.

Kai Naismith scored twice as Wigan Athletic moved eight points clear of the relegation zone following a 3-0 win over struggling Stoke City.

Barnsley are only a point adrift of safety after beating Blackburn Rovers 2-0 while elsewhere Cardiff City drew 0-0 with Charlton Athletic and Millwall's clash with Swansea City ended 1-1.

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has been handed a three-game ban by the Football Association (FA) for elbowing Leeds United defender Ben White.

The FA has retrospectively punished Mitrovic for an incident that happened just two minutes into Leeds' 3-0 Championship win over Fulham at Elland Road on Saturday.

Referee Tony Harrington did not see the incident at the time but Mitrovic admitted the act constituted violent conduct and he has therefore been banned.

Fulham, fifth in the table, are 10 points behind leaders Leeds and seven adrift of second-placed West Brom with seven games to go.

Mitrovic is the Championship's joint top scorer having netted 23 of his team's 52 goals in 2019-20.

The 25-year-old will miss matches against QPR, Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest.

Leeds United took a huge step towards promotion to the Premier League with a 3-0 victory over Fulham at Elland Road.

After West Brom lost at Brentford on Friday, Leeds' impressive win saw them bounce back from last week's defeat to Cardiff City and move top of the Championship.

There were also wins for Charlton Athletic, Cardiff, Luton Town, Derby County, Middlesbrough and Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

Birmingham City and Hull City shared a dramatic 3-3 draw, while there were no goals in the match between Barnsley and Millwall.

 

LEEDS CLOSING IN ON TOP FLIGHT

The 2-0 away defeat to Cardiff in the first match after lockdown was a concern, but even the most pessimistic Leeds fans must concede things are looking good now.

With seven games to go, Leeds are three points clear of West Brom and have opened up an eight-point cushion over third-placed Brentford.

The win over Fulham also dealt a hammer blow to their opponents' chances of automatic promotion - they are now 10 points off the top in fourth.

Patrick Bamford slotted in a cool left-footed finish from Helder Costa's cross after 10 minutes.

Leeds made sure of the points after the break when Ezgjan Alioski was set up by Jack Harrison, who went on to score the third after racing onto a Pablo Hernandez throughball.

Neeskens Kebano was sent off for Fulham in stoppage time, while key striker Aleksandar Mitrovic may face retrospective action after an apparent elbow on Ben White went unpunished in the early stages.

KEY WIN FOR CARDIFF

Cardiff continued their momentum with a potentially pivotal win over Preston North End, one of their main rivals for a play-off place.

The Welsh side moved above Preston into sixth place courtesy of a 3-1 away triumph given to them by late goals from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Robert Glatzel.

All four goals were scored in the last 21 minutes, with Joe Ralls' header putting Cardiff ahead before Daniel Johnson equalised.

Derby are only three points off the top six after Tom Lawrence's fine strike and a Wayne Rooney penalty earned a 2-1 home win over Reading, whose goal was scored by Andy Rinomhota.

Lawrence and Reading's Matt Miazga both received red cards for a clash just after the final whistle.

WINNING START FOR WARNOCK

Middlesbrough won 2-0 at Stoke City to give Neil Warnock an ideal start after his appointment as manager.

Ashley Fletcher and Marcus Tavernier scored in each half, while Stoke's Nick Powell was sent off a minute from time.

Huddersfield Town, who face fifth-placed Nottingham Forest on Sunday, dropped into the bottom three without playing.

Leeds United failed to take a major step towards securing Premier League promotion as they slumped to a 2-0 loss at Cardiff City.

Victory for Leeds would have given them a 10-point lead over third-placed Fulham but they were undone by a clinical Cardiff side.

Junior Hoilett pounced on Kalvin Phillips' misplaced pass to find the net from 20 yards in the 36th minute and Cardiff made the game safe 19 minutes from time when another wayward ball from the back was punished by Robert Glatzel's half-volley.

Leeds, who stay second, will get another chance to increase their lead over Fulham on Saturday when the Cottagers visit Elland Road. Cardiff are only outside the play-off places on goal difference.

Promotion contenders Fulham and Brentford will meet at Craven Cottage in the first Championship game back from the coronavirus-enforced break.

The second tier will recommence on June 20, three days after the Premier League starts up again, having been on hold since March because of the global pandemic.

Third-placed Fulham will host London rivals Brentford, currently fourth, behind closed doors in the early kick-off on the same day that second-placed West Brom return to action with a derby of their own against Birmingham City.

Leaders Leeds United, who are bidding to return to the Premier League for the first time since they were relegated in 2004, face Cardiff City on June 21.

Each Championship club has nine games remaining, with the final round of fixtures set to be held on Wednesday, July 22.

On Sunday the English Football League confirmed that, of the 1,179 people they tested in the latest round of tests for people connected to Championship clubs, only two had returned positive COVID-19 tests.

Eric Cantona helped establish the mentality that saw Manchester United become the dominant force in English football during the 1990s.

'King Eric' scored 82 goals in 185 appearances for United, winning the Premier League four times and lifting the FA Cup on two occasions.

He also won league titles with Marseille and Leeds United, as well as the Coupe de France with Montpellier.

On May 24, his 54th birthday, we look back at his illustrious but turbulent career.

The good

Name a more iconic Cantona moment than his goal against Sunderland in December 1996. The brilliant footwork to get away from two players by the halfway line and surge forward. The chip, which he stood and watched as it bounced in off the upright. The turn. The stare. The collar. Straight back, chest out.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

You could say the FA Cup-winning strike against arch-rivals Liverpool in 1996.

Or the back-post volley against title-chasing Newcastle United, the looping effort that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar against Arsenal or the solo strike against Tottenham – all of which came in a six-game scoring run that helped inspire Alex Ferguson's men to Premier League glory.

Then there were the majestic chips against Southampton and Sheffield United, the magnificent first touches to set up goals against Manchester City, Wimbledon and Derby County.

For Leeds fans, it's probably being part of their last top-flight championship team in 1991-92 or his hat-trick in the 4-3 Charity Shield victory over Liverpool.

Even since retiring he's shone in the spotlight. Upon receiving the UEFA President's Award in August he quoted Shakespeare's King Lear in his acceptance speech, going viral online and initially leaving many bemused.

Enough iconic moments for you? Let's move on.

The bad

While his rebellious, defiant spirit helped endear Cantona to so many, it also led to some tetchy on-field moments.

Cantona had a touch of a nasty streak, often leaving a foot in or lunging in with two.

One such example came while he was representing Auxerre in the 1980s. Chasing back and with the ball on the opposite side of Nantes' Michel Der Zakarian, a drop-kick to the thigh of his opponent unsurprisingly landed Cantona a three-month ban.

There was also the occasional little kick in the challenge, or a stamp when he felt wronged.

And it wasn't just the opposition that could draw his ire.

At Marseille he was suspended indefinitely for kicking the ball into the crowd and throwing his shirt at the referee when substituted in an exhibition match.

At Nimes he launched the ball at a referee and then issued insults at his disciplinary hearing, consequently seeing his three-game ban was extended to two months.

Yeah, it wasn't all good.

The ugly

Whatever Cantona did to ingratiate himself with Leeds fans was undone shortly after moving to Manchester United.

In February 1993, Cantona was accused of spitting at supporters of the West Yorkshire club and ended up being fined £1,000.

However, that incident – and punishment – pales into insignificance when put against his infamous kung-fu kick aimed at Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons in January 1995.

After being shown a red card for lashing out at Richard Shaw, Cantona took a detour on his walk towards the Selhurst Park tunnel and went for the Palace fan, who he claimed had been aiming xenophobic abuse at him.

The following day's headlines ran: "The night football died of shame", "Is this the end for the madman?", "Absolute thuggery in front of children".

Cantona was banned for eight months and fined the maximum of two weeks' wages.

As a media storm swirled in the aftermath, Cantona delivered one of his most memorable quotes to sum up his treatment, taking a sip of water mid-sentence to add drama that would hold him in good stead for a later career in acting.

He said: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."

Regardless of some opinions of him, Cantona will remain one of the Premier League's most enduring figures.

Leeds United chief executive Angus Kinnear has claimed it would be "a national embarrassment" if the 2019-20 football season cannot be completed in England.

Hundreds of people in the United Kingdom continue to lose their lives each day from the effects of COVID-19, adding to a death toll that is higher than in any other European country.

However, the UK government is keen to get professional sport up and running again, and English football authorities are determined to get through many of the fixtures that remained unplayed after competitions were suspended in March.

The Premier League and second-tier Championship are working towards getting back under way, and Leeds chief Kinnear is optimistic that will be possible, with Marcelo Bielsa's side firmly in the hunt for automatic promotion to the top flight. They sit top of the Championship, a point ahead of West Brom with nine rounds of games remaining.

"England had some of the finest sports scientists and football administrators in the game and the time has come for us as a sport to stop repeatedly framing the challenges and start delivering on the solution," said Kinnear, in a column for the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"It would be a national embarrassment if the Bundesliga, LaLiga or Serie A were to be able to complete safely and the first and fifth-biggest leagues in the world were not able to follow suit if the context remained comparable."

Kinnear said Leeds could have been "opportunist" and pushed for the league to be permanently halted, with placings then to be determined by points-per-game averages, because that would have seen them promoted.

"However, our intention has always been to do all we can to complete this season where we started it – on the pitch," Kinnear said.

Kinnear said Leeds are subscribing to protocols that are "rigorous, comprehensive, and founded on science", insisting the club's players have "embraced" the efforts being taken.

He said no players would be "pressurised" to train or play during the coronavirus period.

But he added: "Across the leagues hundreds of players will have to make the same decision and whilst individual choices and circumstance need to be respected they cannot be allowed to derail the personal judgements of the majority and the health of our national games as a whole."

Leeds United need to seal promotion from the Championship this season or else Marcelo Bielsa may not remain at Elland Road, according to Nigel Martyn.

The West Yorkshire club appeared on course to end their long wait to seal a return to the Premier League when the 2019-20 season was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bielsa had his squad sitting top of the table and while only a point clear of nearest rivals West Brom, they had created a comfortable cushion between themselves and the rest of the chasing pack in the race to clinch one of the two automatic spots.

It remains unclear when the action will resume in the Football League - chairman Rick Parry has said the campaign must be completed by July 31 - but Martyn fears Bielsa will not stick around without the prospect of playing in the Premier League in 2020-21.

The former Leeds and England goalkeeper is full of praise for the work done by the Argentinian coach, describing him as a "breath of fresh air" while applauding his impact on the players, both on and off the field.

"Without wanting to sound too downbeat, I didn't see him doing another season if they didn't get promoted,” Martyn told Stats Perform.

"It was kind of a last chance saloon with Leeds and this manager, and he's been a breath of fresh air with his attitude, not just to playing football but to life in general.

"What he's brought to that club and the humility he’s bought, is good to see. It's rubbed off on his players, who looked like they were enjoying winning and everything that went with that.

"Let's hope we don’t miss out on Bielsa in the Premier League, because that would be good to see."

Leeds had seemingly overcome a wobble prior to the suspension in proceedings, recording five successive league victories to get their promotion push firmly back on track.

However, Martyn acknowledges the long hiatus will allow all in the Championship to reset in preparation for a short run-in, while some teams could be hampered by changes in personnel due to the different situations concerning loan signings and their parent clubs.

"At this point, you'd say they [Leeds] deserve to go up. I would love to see them in the Premier League with everything back to normal, but that's not the situation," Martyn said.

"I want the season finished, obviously, because so much has been invested into it. However, there are a lot of players out of contract, on loan from other clubs that might have to go back, so it won't be the same.

"Situations have changed, so it is going to be new for everybody despite being a continuation.

"They were in a good place and you would say they would have gone up this year, all things being equal, but if the season is able to be completed, it's the same for West Brom, Nottingham Forest, for everybody.

"You can put all the excuses there, but it's the same for all. Possibly it won't be the same squad that finishes it, but it’s the same for everyone. If you all sign up to it, there's no coming back."

Manchester United attacker Daniel James revealed his anger when a move from Swansea City to Leeds United fell through in "crazy" fashion last year.

James, 22, was on the verge of joining Leeds in January 2019, just months before his switch to Old Trafford.

The 10-time Wales international said he had agreed to head to Leeds before the move fell through as the window closed.

"I got to Elland Road about 6pm, did all the pictures with my shirt, all the interviews, because they wanted it to go out in the morning, and then it was strange," James told former Swansea team-mate Kenji Gorre on the Living The Dream podcast.

"It got to about 9pm and I'd signed all the papers and then it was from club-to-club. I had people texting me saying, 'What's happening?' and I literally didn't know. It wasn't until 15 minutes to go until I thought, 'This might not happen now.'

"I ended up ringing the chairman [of Swansea] to ask him what's happening. It was all a bit crazy and then it wasn't done. I threw my phone.

"I thought it's not real. The chief exec of Leeds wasn't happy at the time, but then it was just a case of driving home. It was a very weird situation and I think it helped me in some ways."

James ended up finishing the season with Swansea before joining Manchester United for a reported £15million in June 2019.

He had scored four goals in 37 games in all competitions for United before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Leeds United are to rename a stand at Elland Road in honour of the late Norman Hunter.

The Championship club announced the news on Thursday, just under a week after the 76-year-old died after succumbing to coronavirus.

Hunter made 726 appearances for Leeds over a 14-year career with the club, proving integral to their success under Don Revie.

His wife Sue told the club's official website: "As a family we are touched by the club's decision to name the South Stand after Norman and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the supporters of the club and the game in general for the amazing messages of sympathy we have received in recent days.

"Finally, once again we would also like to thank all the doctors and nurses and everyone in the NHS who supported Norman too."

Hunter won two First Division titles, the League Cup and the FA Cup. He was a part of Leeds' Inter-Cities Fairs Cup-winning sides in 1968 and 1971 and tasted defeat in the final of the European Cup in 1975, having lost at the same stage of the European Cup Winners' Cup two years earlier.

A part of England's World Cup-winning squad in 1966, Hunter won 28 caps for his country, scoring two goals.

Leeds United legend Norman Hunter has died at the age of 76.

Hunter was taken to hospital last week having contracted coronavirus but lost his fight with COVID-19 on Friday.

The midfielder made 726 appearances for Leeds over a 14-year career with the club.

He helped Leeds to promotion from the Second Division in 1964 and was integral to their success under Don Revie.

Hunter won two First Division titles, the League Cup and the FA Cup. He was a part of Leeds' Inter-Cities Fairs Cup-winning sides in 1968 and 1971 and tasted defeat in the final of the European Cup in 1975, having lost at the same stage of the European Cup Winners' Cup two years earlier.

A part of England's World Cup-winning squad in 1966, Hunter won 28 caps for his country, scoring two goals.

Following his departure from Leeds in 1976, Hunter went on to enjoy spells with Bristol City and Barnsley, going on to manage the latter as well as Rotherham United and Bradford City.

"He leaves a huge hole in the Leeds United family, his legacy will never be forgotten and our thoughts are with Norman’s family and friends at this very difficult time," Leeds said in confirming Hunter's death on their official website.

 

Former Leeds United defender Norman Hunter is in hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19, the Championship club have confirmed.

The 76-year-old was admitted after testing positive for coronavirus, according to a club statement released on Friday.

"We can confirm that Leeds United and England legend Norman Hunter is being treated in hospital after testing positive for COVID-19," the statement read.

"We would like to take this opportunity to remind the public and the media to respect the wishes of Norman and his family and to give them the space they need during this difficult time.

"Keep battling Norman, we are all with you."

Hunter spent 14 years with Leeds, winning two league titles, an EFL Cup and reaching the European Cup final in 1975, where they lost 2-0 to Bayern Munich.

He then played for Bristol City and Barnsley, where he finished his career in 1982.

Known for his combative style of play, Hunter won 28 caps for England and was part of the World Cup-winning squad of 1966.

He had spells as Barnsley manager from 1980-84 and Rotherham United from 1985-87.

Leeds United players, coaches and senior officials have taken a voluntary wage deferral to allow the club to continue to pay non-football staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The spread of COVID-19 has caused massive disruptions across the sporting calendar, with English football on hold at least until April 30.

Experts have suggested such a prolonged and unplanned hiatus could threaten the very existence of smaller clubs across the world, as they are committed to paying football and non-football staff even without matchday revenue.

But some clubs are asking certain high-earning employees to defer their wages or take salary cuts during the interruption.

Leeds are the latest to make such a move, with players and football staff volunteering to defer their wages over the coming months.

A statement read: "Leeds United can confirm that the players, coaching staff and senior management team have volunteered to take a wage deferral for the foreseeable future to ensure that all non-football staff at Elland Road and Thorp Arch [Leeds' training facility] can be paid and the integrity of the business can be maintained during these uncertain times.

"The lack of fixtures, cancellation of events, impact on ancillary revenue and closure of the football financing market will cost the club several million pounds each month.

"Following a regular catch up between chief executive Angus Kinnear, director of football Victor Orta and several senior players, the decision was made by the squad to defer part of their own salaries to ensure that the club can continue to pay all 272 members of full-time staff and the majority of casual staff for the coming months."

Orta praised the players for their collective attitude in such a time of crisis.

"My players have demonstrated an incredible sense of unity and togetherness and I am proud of their actions," he said. "To Marcelo [Bielsa] and his staff and all of the players, we thank them for putting our wider team first and taking care of family.

"Now we must focus on public health, and when the people are safe, finish what we started."

Before English football was suspended, Leeds were top of the Championship with 71 points.

Leeds United moved top of the Championship after they capitalised on West Brom's draw at Swansea City with a 2-0 home win over Huddersfield Town.

Marcelo Bielsa's men are two points clear at the top of the table after West Brom were held to a 0-0 draw in their match at the Liberty Stadium.

It was not all bad for West Brom as third-placed Fulham also failed to win, instead drawing 1-1 at Bristol City.

Cardiff City, Reading, Brentford, Middlesbrough, QPR and Stoke City were Saturday's other winners.
 

LEEDS LOOKING GOOD

Leeds' mid-season stumble is firmly behind them after a winning a fifth straight game without conceding.

Luke Ayling's stunning volley in the third minute capped a sublime team move at Elland Road and Patrick Bamford made sure of the points with a simple finish six minutes after the break, Jack Harrison later hitting the post.

West Brom, who registered only one shot on target against the Swans, have now gone three games without winning in all competitions, with the pressure on ahead of their home derby with Birmingham City next week.
 

CAIRNEY HITS BACK BUT FULHAM LOSE GROUND

Captain Tom Cairney scored a long-range equaliser with six minutes remaining as Fulham salvaged a point against Bristol City.

Nahki Wells' clever 71st-minute header appeared to have put the hosts on course for victory before that intervention.

Scott Parker's men are now six points behind the automatic promotion spots as opposed to the five they trailed by at the start of the day.

Brentford moved above Nottingham Forest into fourth place with a magnificent 5-0 home win over struggling Sheffield Wednesday.

Josh Dasilva was at the double as Thomas Frank's side ended a five-match winless run in spectacular style.

Preston North End are looking vulnerable in sixth after QPR came from behind to defeat them 3-1 at Deepdale.

Despite Geoff Cameron seeing red for a second bookable offence, Eberechi Eze inspired a comeback with a goal and an assist for QPR, who scored three times in the last 29 minutes.
 

BARNSLEY BOTTOM AS STOKE AND BORO RISE

Barnsley fell to the bottom of the table after they lost 2-0 at home to Cardiff while fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic and Luton Town shared a goalless draw.

Middlesbrough moved out of the bottom three with a 1-0 away win over Charlton Athletic, with Paddy McNair scoring the winner.

Stoke, who started the day fourth-bottom, are up to 17th after a rampant 5-1 home win over Hull City. 

The Potters were three goals up inside 18 minutes and their midfielder Sam Clucas ended the match with a double against his former club, though they lost Joe Allen to what looked like a serious Achilles injury.

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