Norwich close in on promotion with 7-0 Huddersfield rout

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NORWICH, England (Reuters) - Norwich City moved within striking distance of promotion back to the Premier League after one season when they thrashed woeful Huddersfield Town 7-0 helped by a Teemu Pukki hat-trick to move eight points clear at the top of the Championship on Tuesday.

The Canaries are now within five points of guaranteeing an immediate return to the top flight after Finland striker Pukki's superb display was supported by goals from Emiliano Buendia, Todd Cantwell, Kieran Dowell and substitute Jordan Hugill.

Norwich have 87 points from 40 games ahead of Watford on 79 and third-placed Brentford with 70 from 39 after the west London side were held to a 0-0 draw by visiting Birmingham City.

After back-to-back draws, Norwich got on the winning trail again as they stretched their unbeaten run to 12 matches with their biggest victory in almost four years.

They got off to a blistering start and were 4-0 up before the half-hour mark after Pukki struck two early goals before Buendia and Cantwell effectively ended the contest.

Dowell made it five before halftime and Pukki completed his treble with a penalty just past the hour before Hugill, a late replacement for the Finn, scored with his first touch.

The Canaries came bottom of the Premier League last term but if results go their way they could clinch promotion at Derby County on Saturday when Brentford travel to Preston North End.

(Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Toby Davis)