Promotion playoffs bracket set, Rooney’s Derby County avoids the drop
It’ll be Brentford v Bournemouth and Swansea v Barnsley in the first round of the promotion playoffs after three of the four candidates to join Norwich City and Watford in the Premier League dropped points on Saturday.
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The mess at the bottom of the table was also cleaned up, with Wayne Rooney just steering Derby County clear of what would’ve been a shocking drop to League One.
Those dropping to League One are a little less shocking, at least in two of three cases. Wycombe Wanderers go back down with Rotherham United, while Derby’s Saturday opponents carry the most surprise.
Derby County 3-3 Sheffield Wednesday
Wayne Rooney’s wild first season as a manager ended safely Saturday when Martyn Waghorn’s two goals and assist helped the Rams rescue a point from last-place Sheffield Wednesday, who needed a win themselves to have hope of safety.
Rooney’s men saw a brief run of success when he took the reins but it all feel apart starting Feb. 26, as the Rams lost six-straight as part of a 1W-3D-10L run heading into Saturday’s decider.
A Wednesday win would’ve boosted them above County, so the Rams’ point, coupled with Wycombe’s win and Rotherham’s draw, kept the Rams outside the bottom three by one (though goal differential would’ve kept them clear of winning Wycombe).
Sheffield Wednesday’s nine-season Championship run is over, meaning the league return of Steel City derby is at least a season away despite Sheffield United’s relegation.
How will promotion playoffs play out?
Brentford has refound its form heading into the gauntlet, winners of four-straight, while Swansea has slipped lately and Barnsley and Bournemouth finished winners of 2-of-3.
The first legs are Monday, May 17, and the business ends conclude the following Saturday.
Bournemouth v Brentford -- 1pm ET May 17
Barnsley v Swansea City -- 3:15pm ET May 17
Brentford v Bournemouth -- 7:30am ET May 17
Swansea City v Barnsley -- 12:30pm ET May 22
Championship playoff final
May 29 -- TBD