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Steve Sidwell has spoken of his excitement to put all his injury problems behind him as he approaches Fulham’s pre-season back at peak fitness ahead of the new campaign.

The box-to-box midfielder timed his return to full training perfectly at Motspur Park last week as Fulham prepared for their tour of Germany which gets underway this weekend. Sidwell had missed the final four months of the 2011/2012 season after requiring an operation on his hernia injury, which he sustained during the 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion on 1 February. The 29 year-old feels that his hard work in regaining full fitness should pay off and, after the departure of Danny Murphy, Sidwell has a real chance to stake a claim for a regular place in Martin Jol’s midfield.

It’s been tough, I’ve been in all summer. I had a bit of a break with the missus and kids as soon as last season ended but I’ve been here pretty much the whole summer getting fit and it’s paid off.

We’re in our first week of pre-season training now and I’ve felt good. There will probably be a few little niggles here and there but the surgeon said that’s completely natural. I feel like I’m on par with the rest of the lads fitness-wise.

We’re in our first week of pre-season training now and I’ve felt good. There will probably be a few little niggles here and there but the surgeon said that’s completely natural. I feel like I’m on par with the rest of the lads fitness-wise.

Sidwell has scored five goals in his 41 appearances for Fulham since moving Craven Cottage in January 2011.