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Southampton beat Preston to close on Championship promotion places

Andrew Matthews - PA Images / PA Images / Getty

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Southampton closed to within four points of the automatic promotion places at the top of the Championship as Che Adams scored twice in a 3-0 win over Preston on Tuesday.

All the goals arrived before half-time as Adams took his tally for the season to 17 with two classy finishes before Stuart Armstrong crashed in the third.

Southampton remain in fourth but are the form side in the promotion race with Ipswich, Leicester and Leeds all faltering.

Saints also have to travel to Leicester and Leeds in their final four games.

"It was total dominance from the first minute -- we knew how important this game was," Adams told Sky Sports.

"It's a cliche but we need to keep going and win as many games as possible. We started well tonight and need to keep it going."

Three defeats in four games in February looked to have consigned Russell Martin's men to battling for promotion via the playoffs.

But three home wins in a week have propelled them right back into a four-way race for two automatic promotion places.

Ipswich lead the table on 89 points, one clear of Leicester.

Leeds are on 87 points, three ahead of Southampton.

However, Leicester and Southampton have a game in hand over their title rivals when they face off next Tuesday.

Defeat realistically ends Preston's playoff hopes as they remain eight points adrift of the top six with three games to play.

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