SCOTT Parker believes Gary Cahill is "fit and ready" to make his competitive return to action tomorrow, adding: "I'm sure he'll feature."

Cahill's last match came at Anfield on the final day of the Premier League season, a 2-0 defeat for Crystal Palace on May 23.

Following a summer of discussions, the 35-year-old then swapped Selhurst Park for Vitality Stadium, arriving on a free transfer last month.

The centre-back made the bench for the 0-0 draw at Hull City on August 28, but was an unused substitute.

However, with an extra two weeks of training under his belt during the international break, Cahill now looks ready for action when Barnsley head to Dorset tomorrow (3pm).

"Yeah, he'll feature," said boss Parker when asked if Cahill would play against the Tykes.

"I’m sure he’ll feature. I’ve not named the team yet, but Gary will be in and around it, definitely.

"He’s fit and ready to be part of a matchday squad.

"It’s been a long time for him. He’s probably a little bit like Jeff (Lerma) but for different reasons.

"Obviously Jeff couldn’t play because of suspension, whereas Gaz’s last game was the last game of the Premier League and then it dragged on obviously throughout the summer.

"I’m sure he’s biting at the bit to get out there and play in a match."

Asked how ready Cahill was for match action, as he battles fellow defenders Chris Mepham, Lloyd Kelly, Steve Cook and Zeno Ibsen Rossi for a starting berth, Parker added: "He’s getting there.

"He’s been with us now for some time. He’s definitely on the right tracks, Gary.

"Pleased with him and his work and how he’s gone about it. He’s getting stronger, getting fitter and also picking up exactly what we want from him and how we’re going to play.

"Someone like Gary, who has got vast experience, you often find picks up things easy and he understands that. So that’s been pretty easy for us in that sense."

During the early weeks of the season, Cherries' squad has been packed with youngsters and academy graduates.

But with some now returning from suspension and injury, as well as signing for the club in recent weeks, Parker has a lot more experience to call upon as he looks to continue the club's unbeaten start to the Championship campaign.

Discussing how important Cahill's experience has been, Parker said: "He can help me like any experienced players can, in terms of in the changing rooms.

"Of course as a manager and someone that sits in my position, you drive and you can send out messages, you’re constantly trying to reinforce elements and trying to build a mentality and a playing philosophy.

"You need senior players to help along the way in that because you’re not in the changing rooms, you’re not amongst the team and the players constantly.

"So certainly Gaz, along with a lot of senior players we have now, can certainly help get that message across and build this team and this squad to where we need to get it to."