Fulham were indebted to last season’s top scorer Mike Conroy for grabbing a vital victory over Blackpool at Craven Cottage this afternoon.

Ray Wilkins, who turned down lucrative offers to commentate on England’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Italy in Rome after returning to club management, praised his side for maintaining their concentrate and grinding out a win as the Whites laboured in the sunshine against the well-drilled Seasiders.

The home side, who handed new signing Paul Bracewell a debut in midfield, had the better of a forgettable contest but found Blackpool goalkeeper Steve Banks in superb form. It was Conroy, who scored 23 goals last term as Micky Adams guided the Cottagers to promotion from Division Three on a shoestring budget, who finally punctured Blackpool’s brave resistance. The Scot was merciless after his strike partner Paul Moody seized on a slip by centre back Jason Lydiate to fire home his fourth goal of the campaign.

Fulham had to sure real resistance to withstand a late Blackpool barrage and Wilkins told his post-match press conference:

“I’m very pleased because we got three points and that’s what matters. The performance wasn’t as good as last week but what was encouraging was the way we defended with our backs to the wall for the last 20 minutes. That’s the way you get results. We could have passed the ball better, but that’s the only thing I’m complaining about.”

The Fulham boss dismissed reports of Fulham signing ex-England internationals Peter Beardsley and Mark Wright – insisting ‘these things just aren’t going to happen’.

FULHAM: Walton; Lawrence, Blake, Cullip; Smith (Scott 35), Herrera, Bracewell, Carpenter, Hayward; Moody (Cusack 89), Conroy (McKenzie 59).

GOAL: Conroy (35).

BLACKPOOL: Banks; Lydiate, Linighan, Worthington; Bryan, Mellon, Philpott, Bonner; Preece (Clarkson 65), Ellis, Quinn. Subs (not used): Carlisle, Bent.