Football: Promoted Fulham go for title

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The Independent Online
Fulham and Wigan were looking forward to life in the Second Division next season after both teams secured promotion on Monday night.

The Fulham chairman, Jimmy Hill, insisted the west London side, who drew 0-0 at Mansfield, would use their last four games to try to clinch the top spot. "I know from experience that you only get a medal if you win the championship, so if the lads want a medal to take home to their wives and mums then they have got to win the championship," Hill said.

"But it's a moment of joy to be grasped and savoured and to let London know that Fulham is there by the river and it is a club with a big beating heart."

Wigan held on to Pat McGibbon's goal just before the interval for a 1- 0 win at home to Colchester for their own celebrations, and they overtake Fulham at the top by a point, having played a game more.

Now the Wigan chairman, Dave Whelan, has promised pounds 2m for team strengthening and is counting on his manager John Deehan to steer Wigan to more success next year.

"We have been in the wilderness for far too long. The supporters appreciate what I'm trying to do for the club and they deserve success," he said.

"Hopefully next year we can do the same again and get into the First Division. John knows that money is available and he can have pounds 2m to get his squad strengthened. We are really serious about getting to the First Division and then the Premier League."

Deehan said: "Promotion is what we have worked for and now we can go all out for the Third Division title in our last three games."

Carlisle missed an opportunity to guarantee their promotion as they slipped to a surprising 2-1 defeat at Darlington, but they remain 10 points clear of Swansea and their return to the division they left last season seems a formality.

In the First Division, Oldham drew 2-2 with Birmingham but the point was not enough to take them out of the bottom three. Oldham, who have won only three of their last 16 games, now have five games left to escape relegation. The draw was no good to Birmingham either, as it ended their faint hopes of reaching a play-off place.

In the Second Division, the leaders, Bury, continued their march towards promotion with a 2-1 home win against Walsall, but second-placed Luton were held 0-0 at home by struggling Wycombe. The two results leaves Bury four points clear at the top. Luton remain second while Wycombe remain in the bottom four - they are a point behind Shrewsbury with a game in hand. Rotherham were relegated to the Third Division after their 1-0 defeat at York.