Pablo Hernandez fired Leeds United to the brink of a return to the Premier League as his late goal at Swansea City earned a priceless 1-0 win. 

The former Swansea player came off the bench for the second half and scored in the 89th minute, sparking delight in the visitors' ranks. 

Spanish midfielder Hernandez found the bottom left corner after Luke Ayling cut the ball back, just as Leeds looked like being frustrated. 

Now they sit three points clear of second-placed West Brom and six ahead of in-form Brentford, who occupy third spot, and only three rounds of games remain. 

Leeds have been absent from the top flight of English football since their relegation in 2004, which came just three years after a run to the Champions League semi-finals. 

Veteran manager Marcelo Bielsa was persuaded to stay for this season, having gone agonisingly close last term to the elusive promotion. 

Now, though, Leeds look ready to end their long wait, with games against Barnsley, Derby County and Charlton Athletic to come and a maximum of four points required. 

The latest step on the road back to the elite came a day after the death was announced of one of their greatest players, England World Cup winner Jack Charlton, who spent his entire club career with Leeds. 

Stoke City and Birmingham City have played Premier League football more recently than Leeds, but this season has been one of battling the threat of dropping into the third tier for both. 

Stoke earned a 2-0 win over Birmingham on Sunday to join the Blues on 49 points, with both sides now four points clear of the relegation zone. 

Beaten 5-0 by Leeds in their previous outing on Thursday, Stoke bounced back thanks to goals from Danny Batth and captain Sam Clucas.

West Brom missed the chance to jump above Leeds United at the top of the Championship as they drew 1-1 at Blackburn, while surging Brentford kept up pressure on the top two.

The race for automatic promotion could go down to the wire, with Brentford's 3-1 win at Derby County the latest statement of intent from the Bees.

Nottingham Forest's play-off slot looks increasingly secure after holding Preston North End 1-1 at Deepdale.

But at the foot of the table it remains anyone's guess as to who will slide into League One, with Hull City and Middlesbrough both beaten at home on Saturday.

BAGGIES FOILED

West Brom looked like jumping ahead of Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds when they went 1-0 up at Ewood Park in the 41st minute, Charlie Austin finding Filip Krovinovic and the Croatian midfielder firing in.

Krovinovic struck the post too; however, Joe Rothwell dragged Rovers level just after the hour and that was how it remained.

The point put West Brom level on 81 points with leaders Leeds, who face Swansea City on Sunday.

Leeds and West Brom have looked like promotion certainties for months, but both may be quietly worrying about the presence of Brentford, now just three points back.

BRENTFORD LOOK THE BEES-NESS

Wayne Rooney's hopes of promotion with Derby County took a severe blow when the Rams lost 3-1 at home to Brentford, who won a seventh straight game and climbed back above Fulham to reach third place.

In a battle of two in-form teams, the Bees came out on top thanks to two goals from Said Benrahma after Ollie Watkins' early opener. Former Manchester United striker Rooney set up Jason Knight to put Derby level midway through the first half, but they were over-run after half-time.

The result left Derby sitting 10th and likely to finish in mid-table, needing a remarkable set of results over the final three rounds of games to reach the top six. Brentford, given their form, will believe they can crash the top two, even with just three games remaining.

Forest, however, will be happy to sit tight in their current fifth-place spot. Lewis Grabban gave them a fifth-minute lead from the penalty spot at Preston, but Jayden Stockley hauled the hosts level on the quarter-hour mark.

CAN TIGERS CLAW THEIR WAY CLEAR?

Hull are in grave danger of relegation after losing 1-0 at home to Millwall, Ryan Leonard with the only goal of the game in just the second minute.

They sit 22nd, two points worse off than Neil Warnock's Middlesbrough, who fell to a 3-1 home loss against Bristol City. Nahki Wells got a double and Jamie Paterson was also on the scoresheet for the visitors, while Britt Assombalonga netted a hollow consolation goal.

Bottom side Barnsley drew 0-0 at Oakwell with a Wigan Athletic side who could yet be dragged into the relegation picture due to off-field problems, while Charlton Athletic's survival hopes took a knock with a 1-0 home loss to Reading – George Puscas converting an early penalty.

Mid-table Sheffield Wednesday, another side at risk of a points deduction because of matters beyond the control of the coaching staff and players, earned a valuable 3-0 win at QPR thanks to goals from Dominic Iorfa, Josh Windass and Jacob Murphy.

Geoff Hurst said the football world has "lost one of the greats " as tributes poured in for Jack Charlton after the World Cup winner died aged 85 on Friday.

It was announced on Saturday that the Leeds United and England great had passed away following a long battle with ill health.

Charlton won 35 caps for England and was part of the squad that lifted the World Cup on home soil in 1966.

The inspirational centre-back made a record 773 appearances during 23 years with Leeds, winning the league title in 1969 as well as the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Fairs Cup twice.

Charlton went on to become a manager and led the Republic of Ireland to their first major tournament at the 1988 European Championship before masterminding a run to the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals.

Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in England's World Cup final win over West Germany, said Charlton will be hugely missed.

"Another sad day for football. Jack was the type of player and person that you need in a team to win a World Cup," he tweeted.

"He was a great and loveable character and he will be greatly missed. The world of football and the world beyond football has lost one of the greats. RIP old friend."

Paul McGrath and John Aldridge were key members of Charlton's Ireland squad and they expressed their sadness at his passing.

Former centre-back McGrath tweeted: "Absolutely gutted. Father figure to me for 10 years, thanks for having faith in me. Sleep well Jack, Love ya."

Aldridge, the prolific ex-Liverpool striker, posted on Twitter: "Absolutely gutted that BIG JACK has passed away! What a football man. Loved and adored, specially [sic] in Ireland.

"The best manager I was lucky to play for. The times we had on and off the pitch was priceless! My thoughts are with Pat and the family! RIP my good friend Never Forgotten !!"

A message on the Football Association of Ireland's Twitter account said: "The FAI is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jack Charlton, the manager who changed Irish football forever."

A post from the England national teams on the same platform said: "We are devastated by the news that Jack Charlton, a member of our World Cup-winning team of 1966, has passed away. Our deepest sympathies are with Jack's family, friends and former clubs."

Tony Cascarino, who also played under Charlton for Ireland, also paid tribute.

"A very funny man, a very sensitive man, a very loyal man, a family man," Cascarino told talkSPORT.

"I knew he was bed-ridden over the past 19 days. It's very sad and I'd like to think I'd remember Jack for very happy reasons."

He added: "He was fabulous. It feels like I've lost a family member. Out of all the years I knew Jack, he never talked about winning the World Cup once; he never mentioned it."

Jack Charlton, who played a key role in England's 1966 World Cup triumph, has died at the age of 85.

Charlton, the brother of Manchester United great Bobby, was the Three Lions' fearless centre-half as Alf Ramsey's men claimed England's only World Cup triumph at Wembley with a 4-2 extra-time victory over West Germany.

His international debut had come just a year earlier at the age of 29 in a playing career that started and ended at Leeds United.

Charlton was a pivotal figure in the Yorkshire club's rise from the second division to become one of the country's dominant forces.

In all, he made a record 773 appearances for Leeds over a 23-year period, helping them win the League title in 1969 as well as the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Fairs Cup twice.

After retiring in 1973, he accepted the role of Middlesbrough manager and promptly led the Teessiders to the Second Division title before spells at Sheffield Wednesday and boyhood club Newcastle United.

In early 1986, Charlton was appointed Republic of Ireland boss and within two years had guided the country to their first major tournament, Euro 88.

They also qualified for the World Cup finals in 1990 and memorably reached the quarter-finals before going down 1-0 to hosts Italy.

Qualification was also achieved for the World Cup in the United States four years later, Ireland impressing again with their commitment and team spirit on their way to a round of 16 exit to the Netherlands.

Having failed to qualify for Euro 96 - losing a play-off to the Dutch at Anfield - Charlton resigned shortly afterwards.

A Charlton family statement read: "Jack died peacefully on Friday 10 July at the age of 85.

"He was at home in Northumberland, with his family by his side.

"As well as a friend to many, he was a much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

"We cannot express how proud we are of the extraordinary life he led and the pleasure he brought to so many people in different countries and from all walks of life.

"He was a thoroughly honest, kind, funny and genuine man who always had time for people.

"His loss will leave a huge hole in all our lives but we are thankful for a lifetime of happy memories."

Leeds United thrashed relegation-threatened Stoke City 5-0 to go top of the Championship and take another significant step towards promotion.

Marcelo Bielsa's men looked like having nothing to show for a dominant first half until Tommy Smith scythed through Helder Costa to give away a 45th-minute penalty that Mateusz Klich converted.

Costa latched on to Stuart Dallas' fine throughball to double the advantage two minutes into the second half and Liam Cooper opened his body to brilliantly finish a cutback from substitute Pablo Hernandez before the hour.

Hernandez struck from outside the box to get in on the act and Patrick Bamford crowned a glorious team move in stoppage time to edge Leeds a point above West Brom at the summit with four games remaining, while Stoke are a point above the drop zone – their goal difference having taken a hammering.

Leeds need a maximum of seven points from their remaining four fixtures to end a 16-year absence from the Premier League.

Leeds United moved another step closer to automatic promotion from the Championship with a 3-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. 

Marcelo Bielsa's side have been inconsistent since last month's restart but saw off Blackburn to remain six points clear of third-placed Brentford. 

West Brom, who sit in second, are not in action until Sunday and in-form Brentford took full advantage by closing the gap to two points with a convincing 3-0 win against Wigan Athletic. 

Stoke City were also big winners in Saturday's second-tier fixtures, thrashing fellow strugglers Barnsley 4-0 to climb out of the relegation zone and into 18th place. 

Cardiff City, Reading and Fulham picked up valuable victories of their own, while two other matches - including the east Midlands derby - finished level. 


TOP-FLIGHT RETURN IN SIGHT FOR LEEDS

Leeds had collected four points from nine since resuming their campaign, but there is surely no stopping them from ending their 16-year wait for top-flight promotion. 

Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips put Leeds two goals ahead and while Adam Armstrong scored a free-kick early in the second period, Mateusz Klich made sure of the points. 

West Brom play their game in hand against Hull City on Sunday and now have a four-point gap to make up on Leeds, though holding down second place could become their main priority. 

Brentford have now won five in a row after Said Benrahma helped himself to a hat-trick against Wigan, who had Joe Garner sent off late on. 

PROMOTION BATTLE HEATING UP

Derby County and Nottingham Forest played out a 1-1 draw in the early kick-off - Chris Martin scoring in the 97th minute to cancel out Joe Lolley's goal. 

Cardiff saw a number of promising chances go begging against Bristol City before Lee Tomlin played in fellow substitute Danny Ward to snatch a 1-0 win. 

As well as earning bragging rights for Cardiff, Ward's clinical strike five minutes from the end also opens up a three-point buffer on seventh-in-the-table Derby. 

Fulham also needed a late goal to overcome Birmingham City at Craven Cottage, Josh Onomah popping up deep into added time to prolong the visitors' bad run of form. 

STOKE STEER CLEAR OF DANGER

Stoke entered their match with Barnsley sitting just above their opponents in the relegation zone. By the final whistle, they had risen clear of the drop zone. 

Tyrese Campbell struck twice while a goal apiece for Sam Vokes and Tom Ince resulted in a crushing win at the bet365 Stadium. 

Luton Town were unable to give their own survival hopes a much-needed boost as they went down 5-0 at home to Reading, a result that leaves them five points from safety. 

Yakou Meite was the hero for Reading, netting four of their goals - including an 18-minute hat-trick before half-time - while George Puscas was also on target for the visitors. 

Meanwhile, Huddersfield Town played out a goalless stalemate with a Preston North End side now winless in six matches.

James Milner admits leaving Liverpool could have been an option in Jurgen Klopp's first full season at the club after he was asked to play out of position. 

The 34-year-old left Manchester City in 2015 to play more regularly in centre midfield yet spent a lot of the 2016-17 campaign plying his trade at left-back. 

Milner's experience has aided Liverpool in the past few seasons and he signed a new deal in December that runs through to 2022. 

But the former England international could have pushed for a move away three years ago and says it took time to adapt to Klopp's demands on the training pitch. 

On moving to left-back, he told Sky Sports: "It was what the manager needed at the time. There's always going to be positions you prefer but you do what's needed for the team.

"I suppose at that point I could have turned around and said, 'No I don't want to do that, I want to leave'.

"He came to ask me to do it in pre-season and my mindset was, 'Okay, how can I be the best I can be in that position?' and I started to learn the role.  

"A few of the boys were a bit surprised when we set up at pre-season training the next day and I was at left-back, but that was part of the fun." 

Asked about Klopp's intense training sessions, Milner added: "We had to adapt to that - there were a lot of injuries early on. 

"People were saying, 'You can't do that!' You could, you just had to get used to it. Straight away you saw the tempo and the intensity in that first game at Spurs. 

"It was ridiculous really, it wasn't like we played at a slow tempo under Brendan [Rodgers]. That journey started then with the manager's methods and how he wanted us to play. 

"You saw it come in bit by bit. One week the quality would be there and the next week we would be miles off it. 

"That was a process again; the consistency started to come in and, eventually, learning how to win ugly and become a more rounded team."

Milner has been restricted to just eight league starts this term, however, and has recently been linked with a move back to boyhood club Leeds United.

The Yorkshire club are on course to earn promotion to the top flight after a 16-year absence and Milner has not ruled out returning at some stage in the future.

"You never know in football what's around the corner, but I just want to contribute and win as many trophies as I can for Liverpool and add to the great history here," he said.

"I'm biased, but I think the Premier League will be a better place for Leeds in it, and it will be weird to play against them next season."

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."

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