05.04.2014 19:43 h

Football: Leicester promoted to Premier League

Leicester City clinched promotion to the Premier League without kicking a ball on Saturday as their two main rivals both lost.

Nigel Pearson's side had already beaten Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 on Friday to move within touching distance of a return to the English top-flight for the first time since 2004.

And the Championship leaders were able to celebrate confirmation of their promotion less than 24 hours later as third placed QPR lost 2-1 at Bournemouth, while fourth placed Derby crashed 1-0 at Middlesbrough.

Tommy Elphick and Lewis Grabban scored to win it for Bournemouth either side of Armand Traore's replay for QPR, while on-loan Chelsea midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah struck in the 69th minute to give Middlesbrough victory over Derby.

Those results ensured a top-two finish for the big-spending Foxes, who are owned by a Thai consortium backed by chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Leicester's promotion has been on the cards for several weeks after they surged nine points clear of second placed Burnley thanks to a superb 21-game unbeaten run.

They already have 89 points, two more than Cardiff's final total when the Welsh club won promotion as second tier champions last season.

With six games still to play, Pearson's men can focus on finishing top and possibly cracking the 100-point barrier.

Speaking after Friday's win at the King Power Stadium, Pearson had insisted he wouldn't watch the scores come in on Saturday.

"No. My job is to get this club promoted. Whether it's tomorrow, whether it's Tuesday, the next week, the week after it's irrelevant really. It's about getting promotion," he said.

"I want us to win every game that we can and I want us to be champions, but we'll have to fight very hard to do that.

"We'll get promoted as and when we deserve it."

Former Tottenham and England striker Gary Lineker, a noted Leicester fan who started his career with the midlands clubs, was quick to acknowledge the club's achievement, posting on Twitter: "Leicester City are promoted to the Premier League. A sentence I've been waiting to say for 10 years."

Leicester's players also took to social media to hail their achievement.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, son of Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel, tweeted: "Premier league! So proud of all the boys and everyone at the club!!!"

Defender Paul Konchesky posted: "Absolutely buzzing about the results today!! Let's enjoy the rest of season and go again in the top flight."

And midfielder Anthony Knockaert, whose stunning free-kick sealed Leicester's win on Friday, tweeted: "Leicester going up going up going up going up going up. I LOVE LEICESTER YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS."

Burnley are firm favourites to join Leicester in the Premier League.

Sean Dyche's side hold a 10-point lead over QPR with just six games to play after Scott Arfield's 86th minute equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw at Watford.

Wigan are fifth after Martyn Waghorn celebrated signing a permanent deal with the FA Cup holders by firing them to a 1-0 win over Leeds.

Reading also consolidated their place in the play-offs with a 1-0 win at struggling Charlton.

Nottingham Forest, who this week announced the club's legendary defender Stuart Pearce will take over as manager in July, continued their slide out of the play-off race after slumping to a 2-1 loss at home to lowly Millwall.

Elsewhere, Birmingham won 3-1 at Doncaster, Yeovil beat Blackpool 2-1 and Bolton won 1-0 at Huddersfield.

Blackburn defeated Ipswich 2-0 and Barnsley were held to a 0-0 draw by Brighton.