Spurs midfielder Parker: Injury lay-off has been a welcome rest

Parker returned to the starting line-up for the first time this season in Spurs' FA Cup tie against Coventry. Photo: PA

Midfielder Scott Parker believes he has benefited from his enforced rest as he bids to help Tottenham's challenge in the second half of the season.

The 32-year-old England international made his first Barclays Premier League start of the season in last Sunday's 1-1 draw with Manchester United following an Achilles injury.

He said on tottenhamhotspur.com: "I think the break has really done me good and I feel fit and sharp. I touch wood when I say it, because football can come around and bite you on the backside, but I feel really good.

"On a personal level I feel fine, really good. I've had a few games now and I'm raring to go and get right back into it.

"I was out for five months but I was in the gym every day for the best part of four months of that time, doing conditioning and strength work.

"In a weird way I think my body needed that rest because I've played a lot of football for many years now and that was probably the longest I've been out for as long as I can remember."

Parker's return was timely, given Sandro's knee injury, which has required surgery.

Sandro's absence has led to suggestions Spurs could bring in Lewis Holtby from Schalke this month, rather than at the end of the season as previously arranged.

Parker is keen to build on his first Premier League start of the campaign as he aims to help Spurs clinch a top-four place.

"Now I'm looking to establish myself back in the team and push on from there," he said.

"We need to stay as strong as we can and try to maintain what we've done in the first half of the season. We got some great results over the Christmas period and we need to maintain it."

Spurs announced on January 4 that highly-rated Germany international Holtby would be joining in July.

It is understood the 22-year-old midfielder, whose father Chris is from Liverpool, would be willing to move to White Hart Lane sooner.

However, Schalke and Spurs are yet to agree a fee and there is work to do if the deal is to be done before the winter transfer window closes.