Parker turns focus to Blackburn

Scott Parker is hoping for an extended run in the West Ham United first team after an impressive return to the starting lineup last weekend.

The next step is a trip to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday and the industrious Parker is under no illusions about what to expect at Ewood Park. "It's going to be a tough game up there," the 27-year-old England international said. "They're a very good side. We know what they're about. They work hard so it's going to be tough but we look forward to it.

The midfielder made only his second league start in claret and blue in Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Chelsea, turning in a display that did much to nullify the considerable talent in the home midfield. Parker's only other league start for the club he joined in June was the 29 September visit of Arsenal when he suffered a setback to a summer knee injury - causing him to miss out on the club's six-match unbeaten run.

"I started against Arsenal but I think if I'm being honest with myself I probably wasn't exactly ready," said Parker, who is used to getting regular games after 41 appearances for Newcastle United last season and 32 in the previous campaign. "Me being me I just wanted to get out there and try and prove myself. It backfired on me a little bit but I like to think I'm back now and I'm here to stay."

With the quality shown in a brief substitute's appearance in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at the end of last month and that run-out at Chelsea, the travelling fans will look forward to seeing Parker again on Sunday. "The most disappointing thing for me was that I've been injured for so long," he added. "When you are injured and you come back it always takes a bit of time but I just want to get back to fitness as quick as I can and stay in the team."