Parker looking to push on

Scott Parker is pleased to be back in training and delighted to see so many players getting ready for the new season.

The England international finished last season strongly with a run of ten consecutive games in the heart of the midfield after a frustrating first campaign at the Boleyn Ground. He was raring to go still when the campaign drew to a close on 11 May. "The season ended a bit short for me really as I was making good progress after the stop-start season," he said. "Towards the end I got plenty of games and got where I needed to be. Hopefully from there I can push on this season and can build on that."

Parker did relish the chance to relax during June but said he never fully switched off from his playing duties. "I have had a good break. I went away with the family and just chilled out really. Nowadays you still have to do a bit of fitness in the close-season with the way the game is today and the games coming in such quick succession." Indeed, the club's first pre-season match is fast approaching on 17 July away to Hampton and Richmond Borough - which explains the intensity of training this week.

Even if he has kept himself ticking over and has made sure he stayed in shape, the 27-year-old admitted to having "mixed" feelings about the first few days with his team-mates back at Chadwell Heath. "I don't really look forward to it as it is four weeks of running around and very hard work but it is obviously nice to see all the lads and catch up. It was especially good to come back and train with a near enough fit squad which is one thing we need to try to maintain this season."