Match ends, Preston North End 0, Burnley 1.
Burnley are two wins from promotion after moving back to the top of the Championship with victory over local rivals Preston at Deepdale.
Joey Barton's deflected free-kick wrong-footed North End keeper Chris Kirkland to give Burnley an early lead.
Andre Gray and George Boyd almost added a second goal after the break but both hit the woodwork in quick succession.
Jermaine Beckford nodded Preston's best chance over as the Clarets, backed by 5,630 fans, made it 21 games unbeaten.
Burnley have not lost in the Championship since a 3-0 defeat at Hull on Boxing Day, but the fine form of Middlesbrough and Brighton has ensured the battle for promotion will go to the wire.
However, with second-placed Boro playing third-placed Brighton at the Riverside on the final day, Sean Dyche's side will go up with two more wins.
The Clarets, relegated from the Premier League last season, host Queens Park Rangers on 2 May, followed by a trip to Charlton five days later.
And the signs they will make an immediate return to the top flight look good as they head into the matches on the back of their longest unbeaten run since November 1972.
Defeat for Preston, who were in with an outside chance of a play-off place at the start of April, means Simon Grayson's men are now winless in five.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche:
"It's how I want the team to play - that's almost an advert for it. I used the word clarity a lot and I thought that was on show.
"We talk about automaticity and that's the ability to do it properly all the time.
"We do it in training so when it's a game we can deliver and we're showing good signs."
Preston North End boss Simon Grayson:
"We've got honest lads who will give everything. When you look at Burnley and their recovery runs, they get back into their shape.
"It's a learning curve and something to look at for future seasons."
- 6WrightBooked at 60mins
- 16BrowneSubstituted forRobinsonat 84'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 4PearsonSubstituted forJohnsonat 10'minutes
- 14GarnerBooked at 45minsSubstituted forHugillat 74'minutes
- 2LowtonBooked at 45mins
- 6MeeBooked at 82mins
- 8MarneyBooked at 43minsSubstituted forJonesat 90+4'minutes
- 13BartonBooked at 80mins
- 7GrayBooked at 73minsSubstituted forBarnesat 79'minutes
- Kevin Friend
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Preston North End 0, Burnley 1.
Callum Robinson (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Callum Robinson (Preston North End).
Joey Barton (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Callum Robinson (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Calum Woods following a set piece situation.
Hand ball by Sam Vokes (Burnley).
Attempt blocked. Calum Woods (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Burnley. David Jones replaces Dean Marney.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Dean Marney (Burnley) because of an injury.
Greg Cunningham (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Joey Barton (Burnley).
Foul by Greg Cunningham (Preston North End).
George Boyd (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Preston North End. Callum Robinson replaces Alan Browne.
Greg Cunningham (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ashley Barnes (Burnley).
Ben Mee (Burnley) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.