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Jan 5, 2013

Parker to return to starting line-up

Scott Parker is expected to return to Tottenham's starting line-up for the first time since May when Spurs host Coventry in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Parker, 32, aggravated an injury to his Achilles tendon during England's Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat to Italy in June and only returned to first team action as a substitute last month.

But the midfielder has since made five appearances from the Spurs bench, providing encouraging signs for Andre Villas-Boas who is likely to use Saturday's match as an opportunity to gauge Parker's fitness.

Tottenham assistant manager Steffen Freund insists the England international has shown impressive determination to fight his way back into the side.

"Sandro and Mousa [Dembele] are doing a fantastic job for us - 10 points in the last four games - but I'm really proud about Scott Parker," Freund said. "His expectations are always high and has been involved in England squads and went to the European Championship.

"To be patient is not easy, but that shows how strong we are, especially in central midfield. We have a lot of players - Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Tom Carroll. They are waiting to start too. That is why we are really strong in those two positions at the moment when we play 4-4-2.

"It is Scott's attitude, not only in the training sessions but he also played three Under-21 games to improve his fitness.

"He knows he will improve with games and that makes me proud as a coach that an England international plays with fun and enjoyment with the Under-21s so that he can be back in the starting XI.

"It's not difficult to manage that but it is part of our job to speak to the players and give them the feeling that their day will come if they are patient but I think that is normal."

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