The automatic promotion spots have been settled in the Championship, with Norwich City and Sheffield United going up.

Norwich beat Blackburn Rovers on Saturday night, securing their spot in the top flight. Sheffield United had beaten Ipswich Town just hours earlier, all but confirming their promotion too.

With Leeds only drawing against Aston Villa on Sunday officially sent the Blades back to the Premier League; after a 12-year absence, they’re back in the big time. Leeds, Aston Villa and West Brom head into the playoffs, with Derby favourites for the last spot, ahead of Middlesbrough.

Preston have ended up falling well short of the top six. A 12-game unbeaten run had North End threatening to gatecrash the top six, but those hopes died quickly. Four points in seven games means North End are nine points adrift of sixth place.

Fulham players celebrate promotion in 2018.
(Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Alex Neil will hope to close that gap next season, having committed his future to North End. It’s a tough ask on a small budget, but hope has come from an unusual source.

Irish side Cobh Ramblers played host to North End last pre-season, with the Lilywhites winning 5-0. Now, Cobh have taken to Twitter to post an intriguing promotion pattern.

They note that they played Fulham in 2016, and they were promoted two years later in 2018. Norwich visited for a friendly in 2017, and also won promotion two years later. If North End follow the pattern, they would win promotion next season, having played Cobh in 2018.

Of course, there’s little to his kind of thing – it’s mere coincidence. Yet North End would love to complete the pattern, which has pretty much come out of nowhere.

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