Fulham promoted back to Premier League after win over Preston

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Fulham achieved an immediate return to the Premier League on Tuesday after a 3-0 home win over Preston guaranteed the London side a top-two finish in the second-tier Championship.

League leader Fulham – who was relegated from the top flight last year – now has 86 points from 42 games.

The promotion has been powered by Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 40 goals, including two against Preston, and there are still four games remaining.

Marco Silva’s side looks set to go up as a champion, with second-place Bournemouth nine points adrift.

Promotion is worth up to $240 million, according to last year’s Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance.

The top two in the division are promoted to the Premier League, while the teams that finish third to sixth go into the playoffs to fight for the final spot.

Only Nottingham Forest could have denied Fulham promotion, but they are now 16 points behind the Londoners and can get a maximum of 15 more from their remaining five games.

Fulham took the lead through Aleksandar Mitrovic in the ninth minute before Fabio Carvalho grabbed another and Mitrovic completed the first-half rout by finishing off a slick team move in the 41st minute.

The London side’s promotion had looked inevitable for some time, but celebrations were put on hold last week when it lost at Derby County.

Fulham scored 98 goals this season in 42 games while conceding only 37.

Fulham’s next challenge is to win the Championship title. They are nine points clear of second-placed Bournemouth, who have 77 points and a game in hand on the leaders.

Huddersfield Town is in third place on 73 ahead of Luton Town with 71, Forest on 70 and Sheffield United who currently occupies the final playoff place with 66 points.

After a four-year absence, Fulham has swung back and forth from the top two divisions every season since gaining promotion to the Premier League in 2018.

There will be a cluster of teams based in west London in next season’s Premier League, with Chelsea and Brentford also based there.

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