Carlton Cole has paid tribute to the outstanding Scott Parker after he won the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award.
Parker will be honoured at a special gala dinner in London in a fortnight's time, and Cole said the No8 deserved all the accolades. Parker, like hernia-victim Mark Noble who was hurt at Chelsea last Saturday, is battling to be fit for the final three weeks of the season.
Positive news has come with Jack Collison's second successive 90 minutes in a run of four games for the reserves, while Junior Stanislas is close to a first-team training return after his own hernia issues. Winston Reid has also been back in action on the practice pitches after a knock.
It is Parker, though, that Cole said everyone was looking to. "Scotty is one of those players that is a leading player on the pitch, he leads by example, he will say how he feels," Cole said. "Scotty won't shy away from anything, from a challenge, those are the sort of characters you need in your team.
"Especially when we are fighting relegation as well, Scotty as a player and a person, is someone who will always stand up and be counted - you need people like him.
"Any accolade he gets, any pat on the backs, Scotty deserves. That is how I look at it. I hold him highly up there as one of the best players in the league at the moment.
"For the last three years, as soon as he got over the niggly injuries he had when he was first here, once he started getting momentum, he has not stopped. He is like a juggernaught."