Fulham will only be denied promotion to the Premier League if they suffer a catastrophic collapse, as the Cottagers are on the approach of returning to the top level after spending this season in the Championship following relegation in 2021.
Fulham has already had one chance to secure automatic promotion, having met Derby on Friday, and had the potential to assure themselves a top-two finish.
Because of Nottingham Forest’s previous defeat to Luton Town, Marco Silva’s side would have mathematically earned promotion had they beaten the Rams, who had managed to stave off relegation to League One with a win.
Forest, who is in the fifth position but has two games in hand on the two clubs above them, remains the only club with a chance of preventing Fulham from returning to the Premier League in 2022/2023 – and it would take a flawless performance from them to do so.
With so few games remaining, third-placed Huddersfield and fourth-placed Luton might still catch Bournemouth for one of the two automatic promotion spots, but they can no longer finish ahead of Fulham.
Forest will end with 85 points if they win all five remaining games, two more than Fulham presently has. Bournemouth, on the other hand, can reach 92 points.
Both clubs can still overtake Fulham, putting the Cottagers in third place – but only for a short time. If Fulham beat Preston at Craven Cottage on Tuesday night, they will go above and beyond what Forest can do mathematically, ensuring at least second place and automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Fulham will have to wait for another game to attain the magical 86 points if they drew or lost against the Lancashire club, who are in 15th place but unbeaten in their previous three games. Fulham’s chances are more of an if than a when, with only one win necessary.
Even if the Cottagers don’t do it against Preston, a Forest blunder from now on would put the race out of reach. On April 26, Fulham and Forest will meet at Craven Cottage. Fulham is a strong favorite to win the Championship title, which would be their first since 2000/2001, after securing two consecutive promotions through the playoffs.
Fulham needs ten points to go on better than Bournemouth’s. They could also win it with seven points if they beat the Cherries on April 23.