I can’t see Bradford City finishing the season – Stuart McCall

Bradford City manager Stuart McCall has all but given up on the chances of his club playing again this season.

Stuart McCall, manager of Bradford City. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Leagues One and Two are set to abandon their 2019-20 campaigns early next week, but the expectation is that clubs will vote to keep promotion and relegation, which would be good news for Rotherham United and possibly Harrogate Town, less so for Championship Barnsley.

“I just can’t see us finishing the season at our level,” admitted McCall, whose club released four players – including three loanees – at the start of the month because of the uncertainty. “You’ve got to be realistic.

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“Because of the financial implications, I think they will find a way of getting the Premier League finished.

“But you see how things change daily with ideas like flying to Australia to play over there, which seems too far-fetched.

“For that to even be talked about shows that nobody has got a definitive answer.

“First and foremost, we’ve got to be guided by the government on safety. But clubs at our level have to look at it from a financial point of view as well. It brings it home when you hear even the top dogs are going to be stretched if this goes on for too long.”

The Premier League and the Championship are not expected to throw the towel in on resuming just yet, although much will depend on the “roadmap” Prime Minister Boris Johnson sets out on Sunday for the easing of lockdown restrictions.

England’s top two divisions have lucrative broadcast deals to protect, whereas the bottom two are heavily reliant on matchday revenue which will not return if they resume behind closed doors.

Rotherham were in League One’s second automatic promotion spot when the coronavirus pandemic brought the season to a halt in early March, and would remain there if final placings were decided on points per game.

The National League are waiting on the Football League before deciding whether to have promotion and relegation, but two teams were due to go up from the Conference. Barrow are top and the other position was due to be decided by play-offs, which have not yet been ruled out, but seem unlikely. Harrogate were second.

If promotion and relegation were to take place from the lower leagues, one would expect it to also apply to the Football League’s top division, the Championship, imperilling bottom-of-the-table Barnsley.

Bradford and Doncaster Rovers, who have furloughed their squads, would fall short of the play-offs in Leagues Two and One respectively.

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