Kilmarnock defender Ryan O’Leary aims to play a key role for the club this season and make up for his long spells on the sidelines.
The 24-year-old centre back suffered a cruciate ligament injury against Hearts in August which ruled him out of action for seven months.
He returned to action in April against Hibernian, playing five matches as the season drew to a close and now he wants to repay the patience of manager Kenny Shiels who handed him a one-year contract extension.
O’Leary told the Daily Record: “It’s a big season for me, there have been a few seasons when I’ve said that but hopefully this can be the one for me.
“After taking a year out and then coming back in only to do my cruciate straight away wasn’t ideal but it’s made me stronger, mentally and physically. So I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead. Kenny had the final say in signing me so did me a big favour and I want to repay that faith.
“The gaffer has given me a lot of confidence, I know I’m in his plans and I want to go on and do well for him and the club.”
O’Leary returned to the Ayrshire side after failing to find a club following a short spell with Dundee.
Having started life at Rugby Park in 2005, he wants to prove his worth to the club’s supporters.
He added: “Killie fans have seen me in fits and starts as unfortunately I’ve broken down quite a lot but hopefully things will go well for me now as I want to be out there playing.
“It’s horrible being on the treatment table but Alex our physio has done wonders for me and a lot of credit goes to him.
“So I’m just looking to repay the gaffer, Alex and many other people within in the club.”
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