Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell feared his career was over last season but the Fulham midfielder has battled back to fitness in pre-season.

Sidwell joined Fulham from Aston Villa in January 2011 but was plagued by a persistent hernia complaint for much of his first full season at Craven Cottage.

The former Chelsea player recovered sufficiently to play 45 minutes in Saturday’s friendly draw with Kaiserslautern as well as Fulham’s two previous pre-season games.

But the 29-year-old admits the injury was difficult to deal with.

“It was a really dark time for me last season. I felt like I’d never kick a ball again,” Sidwell said.

“I’m feeling all good now, all good, and I’m just really pleased to be back out on the pitch.

“Just to be back with the lads and just training has been great. Getting game time has been another good thing. I got a little knock on the first game but other than that, I was fine.

“That’s what friendlies are for – you get a few knocks here and there and you just get on with it and it’s good to come through it feeling like this.”

Martin Jol’s side went two goals down to Kaiserslautern before new signing Mladen Petric produced a classy brace to level the scores.

The 31-year-old free transfer signing from Hamburg has netted three goals in pre-season and Sidwell is encouraged by what he has seen from the Croatian striker.

“I thought we improved in the second half and played some good football around the time we got the equaliser,” added Sidwell.

“Mladen took the goals well and was looking very good, he’s a very clever player and he has fit in well straight from the off.

“Obviously, Premier League games are completely different from pre-season friendlies, but hopefully at the start of the season he is banging them in just like that.”