Burnley secured an immediate return to the Premier League by beating QPR.
After an edgy first hour, Sam Vokes headed in Dave Jones’ free-kick to seal promotion at the first attempt.
Sean Dyche’s side are only two points clear of Middlesbrough and Brighton, but cannot be overhauled by both as they face each other on the final day.
While Boro and Brighton fight for the remaining automatic promotion spot on Saturday, Burnley will be crowned champions if they win at relegated Charlton.
However, the Lancashire side were far from their best against mid-table Rangers and survived a scare when Alejandro Faurlin hit the post with a long-range drive with 20 minutes to play.
Burnley back in the big time
Burnley confirmed their return to the Premier League just 359 days after dropping out of English football’s top tier.
Following relegation, they lost striker Danny Ings to Liverpool, full-back Kieran Trippier to Tottenham and captain Jason Shackell to Derby, but invested heavily in their squad as they prepared for a promotion challenge.
Joey Barton has added guile and experience to Burnley’s midfield, while record signing Andre Gray has repaid his sizeable fee with 22 goals in 40 league appearances.
Wales international Vokes has been an unsung partner of Gray – his winner against QPR was his 14th league goal of the season and his 11th since the turn of the year.
Victory over QPR extended Burnley’s unbeaten run in the league to 22 games, the longest sequence in the division this season, with their last Championship defeat coming at Hull on 26 December.
During that run, Michael Keane netted stoppage-time equalisers against both Brighton and Middlesbrough – goals which have proved critical to Burnley’s promotion chances in the closing weeks of the season.
Consistency of selection is one of manager Dyche’s biggest traits and he has followed that policy again in 2015-16, using only 25 players in the Championship this season.
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