Southampton striker Lee Barnard is keen to return to Championship action after working his way back to fitness following an ankle injury.
The 27-year-old made his first appearance of the season as a substitute in the Carling Cup defeat at Crystal Palace in late October.
And he turned out for Saints' Under-21 side against Brentford on Tuesday and scored the winner in a 3-2 victory.
He told the club's official website: "I can do all the training that I want but it's not the same as playing, and these development games are brilliant because we've got a good bunch of youngsters and the standard is so high."
Barnard also admits that the international break has given him more time to step up his training.
He added: "It's not good for the team to have a break as they're flying, but for me personally it gives me another week or so to work on my fitness and try to get into plans of the first team again.
"I'm just taking it day by day for as long as my ankle feels good."