BILLY Sharp struck twice against his former club as Championship leaders Saints took another major step towards promotion with a 2-0 win over Doncaster.

Sharp’s second-half brace means Nigel Adkins’ men are now nine points clear of third-placed West Ham, who drew 2-2 at Burnley.

The Hammers retain a game in hand, and will cash that in when they visit Peterborough on Tuesday night, but the chances of them preventing Saints from making a Premier League return are fast diminishing.

Second-placed Reading continued to cling onto the coattails of Adkins’ side, as their 3-1 win over Blackpool kept them five points behind the leaders.

Sharp delivered the killer blows against relegation-threatened Rovers when he headed in Danny Fox’s 58th minute corner, before pouncing on a Habib Beye error 15 minutes from time to finish the game off.

The only concern for the hosts was Rickie Lambert’s departure early in the second half with an injury.

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