Scott Parker praised his side’s character after Fulham battled to a vital victory over fellow promotion chasers Preston North End at Craven Cottage this afternoon.

The Whites were made to work hard for the three points. They had to wait until just before the hour to edge in front, when David Nugent headed Anthony Knockaert’s corner into his own net. The victory wasn’t secured until the final minute of stoppage time when Aboubakar Kamara finished his own swift counter-attack with aplomb.

Parker’s men are now six points behind second-placed Leeds, who thrashed Hull in the lunchtime kick-off, and seven off leaders West Brom, who lost at home to Wigan. The Fulham boss is refusing to look too far ahead, however, and wanted to concentrate on the way his side dealt with a strong side from Preston today.

“I’m pleased about the dogged display. The first 20 minutes we had to weather a storm. Preston had a day extra in their recovery and put pressure on us. I felt that one goal might decide the game and we managed to get that. After that I felt we were in the ascendancy.

We need to embrace this expectation. If you want to be a top team you need something a bit different, to have character. We’re slowly getting there.

It’s always important to win matches – we’ve come out of a busy schedule and to go into a busy periods with 10 games left it’s about our mentality now. West Brom and Leeds have been the best and most consistent in the division. They’re top teams and we have them both to play but we need to concentrate first on Bristol City.

My main focus is to worry about us. This division brings surprises week-in, week-out, so if you look too far ahead you can be jabbed on the nose. I look at my players and we have a bit of belief about us now. The dramatic way we won says that I see a group of players prepared to grind out a result.