Sunderland head to Deepdale on Monday knowing they must win if they are to extend their season, but Preston will be looking to mirror last season’s final game.
Both The Mackems and Preston North End had made late surges towards the top six, but whilst the wheels came off for The Lilywhites, The Black Cats still have a chance.
Tony Mowbray’s side lie in 7th place ahead of the 46th game of the season. They are two point behind Millwall who face Blackburn Rovers; another side hoping to jump into the top six.
If Sunderland win and Millwall don’t, then that should be enough for them to see if they can make it back-to-back play-off triumphs.
However if West Bromwich Albion were also to win by a four goal swing compared to Sunderland then The Baggies would sneak in. They face Swansea City.
5th placed Coventry City aren’t sure of their place yet and they face Middlesbrough who are guaranteed to finish 4th. If Coventry lose and Sunderland win that will also see today’s visitors clinch a play-off spot.
It’s a typical end to another fascinating Championship season and much like last year Preston can play the role of party poopers.
On the 7th May 2022, Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough side came to Deepdale knowing they needed a win to have a chance of a top six finish. Preston blew them away though with a comprehensive 4-1 victory.
Two goals from Emil Riis, and own goal that was unlucky not to go to the Dane and one from Alan Browne meant it was an unhappy trip back to Teeside for Boro.
North End played great football on that day and it was topped off with an emotional farewell appearance for club legend Paul Huntington. The Cumbrian Cannavaro even came close to getting a goal himself with a header from a corner.
Ryan Lowe’s side hadn’t downed tools at that point last season so let’s hope they’re not on their holidays this time around.
Their own play-off aspirations died down after only gaining one point from the last four crucial games. Yet nobody really ever expected Preston to be in a serious hunt for the top six but it has whetted the appetite for more of a go next season.