Parker feeling good

Scott Parker is happy to be back in action for West Ham United again and sees next week's trip to China as a chance to 'look forwards and upwards'.

The Hammer of the Year made his long-awaited return from a groin injury in the 0-0 draw with ND Mura 05 on Thursday night - his first run-out since the 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers on 21 March. After coming through with no problems, he is looking to get more minutes under his belt with the high-profile fixture against Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Asia Trophy on Wednesday.

"I found it OK," Parker told after his 45-minute appearance in Slovenia that saw him take the captain's armband from Robert Green, who like Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole was playing his second game of the summer. "I've not played for the best part of four months so it was quite difficult but I got through it and that was the main thing. I look forwards and upwards now really."

Parker has had a different pre-season to most of his colleagues because of his efforts to overcome that groin problem. A club physiotherapist joined him for part of his family holiday to ensure he was in the best shape possible once the first-team squad reported back in early July. It meant he sat out the first few friendlies as he focused on a personal programme.

"Pre-season has been quite difficult for me as I still had the problem I had last year and only got over it two weeks before I came back," the 28-year-old England midfielder added. "I've been working hard through the summer and realistically this was the best time for me to play.

"As a professional athlete I'm not sure you're ever 100 per cent fit but that's the way it is. I feel fine and as good as I can be I just hope to get fit now and push on."

The next step will be the trip to the Chinese capital, with the Hammers playing Spurs on Wednesday before a fixture on Friday against either Hull City or local side Beijing Guoan. Parker said: "China should be good and we've got some good games out there. It will be difficult with the heat and the time difference but we look forward to it and hopefully we can put in some good displays. We want to do well out there."