Leeds United and West Brom could restart their Championship campaigns on 6 June in government-backed plans for a return to action, Football Insider understands.
The division’s top two have been sweating on their promotion bids as football chiefs discuss plans to safely recommence the English season.
An EFL source has told Football Insider that officials will be involved in new talks this week with stakeholders including the Premier League and the FA about allowing matches to begin as early as 6 June.
There has been a significant shift among the government in recent days to restart major sports.
Top-level football is regarded as especially significant given its vast following and the role it can play in lifting morale across the nation following the lockdown that will continue until at least 7 May.
The Premier League has drawn up a plan titled Project Restart that could allow matches to be played as early as June 8 behind closed doors at approved, neutral venues.
Championship games could even restart two days earlier if group training is given the all-clear to resume on 16 May.
EFL clubs were told by chairman Rick Parry earlier this month not to return to training before that date.
But there is now a strong determination across the board to do everything possible to push for the season to be completed.
That is a huge boost to Leeds and West Brom, who are well clear at the top of the Championship with nine matches remaining.
Third-placed Fulham are six points adrift of Slaven Bilic’s side and seven behind league leaders United, who have won their last five games in the competition.
In other Leeds United news, a proven star has been tipped to move to Elland Road to replace duo as £5m deal all but done.