Stuart Dallas can look forward to being a Premier League player next season as Leeds United celebrated their promotion to the top flight as Champions following their 3-1 victory at Derby County on Sunday.
United were already assured of finishing in the top two after West Brom’s defeat at Huddersfield Town last Friday evening with Dallas enthusing about the side’s performance after win at Pride Park.
“I thought we played like champions today,” declared the former Crusaders player. “I think we were brilliant from the first whistle. You can see what it means to everyone involved.
The 29-year-old was also full of praise for Leeds supremo Marcelo Bielsa who guided the Yorkshire side back to the Premier League after an absence of 16 years.
“I don’t have any words to thank him for the transformation he’s done for me,” added Dallas, “He’s been massive. I’m just happy to be playing for a team that has won the league.”
Northern Ireland Under-21 midfielder Alfie McCalmont is also on the books at Leeds United and has made two cup appearances for the side this season.
Elsewhere in the Championship, former Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill is looking forward to next term after Stoke City secured their place in the second tier of English football with a 1-0 home win over high-flying Brentford.
“I think it’s always a relief when you are in this situation,” O’Neill told the BBC, “It’s a relief to get it finally done and to do it and win against a very, very good team is a positive for us as well.
“But it's nothing for us to celebrate - it is just something for us to look at the progress we have made, and we will look to continue that going forward.”
Meanwhile, it looks increasingly likely that striker Josh Magennis could be playing League One football next term after he played the full ninety minutes of Hull City’s 1-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Luton Town, a result which, barring a miracle, could see them relegated.
Midfielders George Saville and Paddy McNair both played some part of Middlesbrough’s 3-1 home defeat to Cardiff City meaning they need at least a point, if not a win, at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek to confirm their Championship status for next season.
Twenty-year-old Caolan Boyd-Munce continues to get valuable first-team experience at Birmingham City, who are also in danger of relegation when he played the final nineteen minutes of the two goal loss at Preston North End.
In the Premier League Jonny Evans played his 45th game of the season as Leicester City’s poor run of form continued with a 3-0 defeat at Spurs, while highly rated left-back Jamal Lewis played the full ninety minutes as already relegated Norwich City lost 2-0 at Burnley.