Newcastle strengthened their advantage at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Preston.
The Magpies are yet to be beaten at St James' Park this season, and there was little chance that would change when Peter Lovenkrands scored his 10th goal of the season in the third minute.
Top-scorer Kevin Nolan added his 13th of the campaign 10 minutes after the break, with substitute Ryan Taylor completing the scoring in injury time to send Newcastle five points clear at the top.
With fellow title challengers West Brom not playing until Sunday, Nottingham Forest took advantage to move into second place. Chris Cohen scored the only goal in a 1-0 City Ground victory over Middlesbrough, the midfielder's fourth this season, and all in his last nine matches.
Rock-bottom Peterborough, whose clash at home to Sheffield United was postponed because of a frozen pitch at London Road, are now five points adrift at the foot.
That was after Plymouth managed to grab a point from a 1-1 draw with Leicester at Home Park as a 39th-minute Craig Noone header cancelled out an own goal from Kari Arnason seven minutes earlier.
Ipswich lifted themselves out of the bottom three with a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday courtesy of midfielder Carlos Edwards ending a near three-year goal drought.
Meanwhile, Coventry lifted themselves up to 10th with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, Swansea improved their play-off hopes with a 1-0 win over Derby at Pride Park and Cardiff crashed to a 2-0 home defeat to Barnsley for whom Daniel Bogdanovic scored both goals inside the opening 12 minutes.
Elsewhere, Blackpool are now seventh following a 2-0 victory over Reading, QPR beat Doncaster 2-1 and Scunthorpe drew 2-2 with Watford.
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