Wolverhampton Wanderers swept aside Sheffield United 3-0 to restore their 11-point lead at the top of the Championship on Saturday after Derby and Aston Villa boosted their chances of grabbing the other automatic promotion spot.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men set up their 21st victory of the season after taking the lead in the fifth minute through Ruben Neves, with Diogo Jota’s 13th goal of the season on the half hour doubling their advantage.
Ivan Cavaleiro’s late free-kick sealed the win after Blades goalkeeper Simon Moore had been sent off for a challenge just outside the area on Jota.
Earlier, Tom Huddlestone inspired Derby to a 3-0 victory over 10-man Brentford to keep them second in the table, scoring his first goal in 125 appearances and setting up the second.
Brentford midfielder Sergi Canos was sent off midway through the first half and Huddlestone, capped four times by England, made them pay moments later.
The former Hull midfielder then had a hand in creating Derby’s second goal, which was finished by Cameron Jerome in the 34th minute, while Matej Vydra added a late third with a penalty.
Aston Villa remain third, a point behind Derby, after beating bottom club Burton 3-2 to claim their sixth straight Championship victory.
Villa took the lead after 33 minutes when a fine team goal was finished by Scott Hogan and Albert Adomah made it 2-0 midway through the second half.
Ahmed Elmohamady’s own goal gifted the Brewers a route back into the game, but Jack Grealish restored Villa’s two-goal cushion late on and Villa held on despite a late second for Liam Boyce.
Neil Warnock returned to haunt his former club as Cardiff kept up their promotion hopes with a 4-1 win at 10-man Leeds with goals from Callum Paterson, Junior Hoilett, Sean Morrison and Anthony Pilkington.
Fulham moved up to fifth after a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Sunderland remain second bottom and are two points adrift of safety after a 2-0 home defeat against Ipswich.
Hull also failed to climb out of the drop zone after letting a lead slip in their 2-1 loss at Preston.
Birmingham edged four points clear of the relegation zone with a 3-1 victory at nine-man Sheffield Wednesday while Josh Scowen scored his first goal for QPR to help secure a 1-0 victory against his former club Barnsley.
Norwich beat 10-man Middlesbrough 1-0 while Millwall won 2-0 at Reading.