Kevin Kyle is confident he will be back and better next season Kevin Kyle was worried that a chronic hip condition could end his playing career. However, he is now confident he will be able to return to action - and has set a target to be fit for the new season. Kyle, who first experienced hip problems while at Sunderland in 2005, has not played since January after suffering pain in his groin after turning sharply during the New Year win over Hibs. Kyle said: "With the experience of 2005 I tend to become paranoid when I get injured. I'm fortunate that I'm 30 in June. It would be worse if I was going to be 20. It was worrying. I was wondering if I would need to pack it in. I'm on crutches for six weeks, non-weight bearing, then for seven weeks after that it's building up the muscles. After 13 weeks it's running and once running is comfortable, it's a case of how quickly I can get fit. That will coincide with July or August." Kyle had more than a dozen injections and has been around the country visiting specialists as he tried to get the problem diagnosed. A Bradford-based surgeon eventually performed an operation to repair cartilage damage and wear and tear to the hip. Kyle said: "It's all repaired now. Since January 1 it's been torture. I've had a kid and the missus is at the end of her tether because I can't help round the house. The surgeon said if it doesn't work, you're going to struggle. The rehab each day is long. I've got to sit on a bike and pedal two lots of 45 minutes just looking at a blue wall. It's horrendous. It's good to be involved at the club again. I can feel a difference. I feel confident that I will be back playing and helping my team-mates again. I'm the worst spectator in the world. I know I'll get back and hopefully it will be at the beginning of the season and, touch wood, it will be the end of the hip problems." Meanwhile, goalkeeper Marian Kello has been voted player of the year by both fans and players. Kello said: "I had a tear in my eye when I went up on stage to collect the player of the year award. This means so much."