Kevin KYLE is optimistic that “last chance” surgery will ensure he will pull on a Hearts shirt again after enduring more than a year on the sidelines.
A recurring hip injury has ruled Kyle out of first-team action since January last year, before which the striker enjoyed a prolific start to his Tynecastle career with ten goals after joining from Kilmarnock in summer 2010.
Ex-Scotland internationalist Kyle, whose contract expires in June and who will turn 31 in the same month, had harboured long-standing fears for his career, but is now confident that a recent hip operation can pave the way for a return to football.
“I’m very optimistic and can feel a difference straight away,” Kyle told the club’s website.
“I’m quite excited about the future but am not going to rush things. I have a 12-week rehab plan and I’ll see where I am and how I am feeling after that.”
Stranraer-born Kyle began his senior career at Sunderland and became the club’s joint-top goalscorer in 2003-04. However, he suffered a hip injury the following season and the year after was transferred to Coventry City. The 6ft 3in striker signed for Jim Jefferies’ Kilmarnock in January 2009 and 18 months later was reunited with the same manager at Hearts, where he quickly became a favourite among fans.
“I’m not going to put any time frame on anything,” said Kyle, who is nearing the end of his two-year deal in Gorgie. “I know this is my last chance so I want to make sure I get things right and get back training when I’m ready.”
■ HEARTS’ home Scottish Cup quarter-final against St Mirren has been chosen to be broadcast live on BBC television on Saturday, March 10 at 12.30pm.