Sidwell ready for first-team fight
Steve Sidwell is aiming to secure a regular first-team place for Fulham this season after overcoming his lengthy injury problems.
The 29-year-old midfielder endured a nightmare campaign at Craven Cottage last term as he missed the final three months due to a hernia injury, which first affected him during last November's defeat against Tottenham. Sidwell endured three operations to rectify the problem as he played through the pain barrier on six occasions after first being struck down before then accepting he needed to get the matter sorted. However, the former Aston Villa and Chelsea man is now fully fit and aiming to feature regularly in the new Premier League campaign, which gets underway with the visit of Norwich on Saturday. Sidwell, who has seen the departures of skipper Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu clear his path the starting XI, told the Chronicle: "I had three ops in six months, kept rushing back, never rested properly and then it took one final one over the summer. "Hopefully I can knuckle down now and cement a place in the team and start where I left off before the operation. I know I've got a lot to offer. "I was never right. I put myself forward because that's the sort of person I am really. I just want to play and if I can jog then I am fit, but I was never good enough to be selected really. That was my downfall. "I'm fully fit now, looking forward to it and raring to go. I've lost a bit of time so hopefully it's time to catch up. "For me personally, I want to get in the starting XI. Midfield-wise, we've got a lot of players in there so it's trying to cement a place and get a good run of games hopefully."