David Vaughan is aiming for a key role with Sunderland next season as he attempts to put his injury problems behind him.
The Welsh international moved to Wearside on a free transfer from Blackpool but has found his opportunities this season limited due to injury.
First appearing days before the end of pre-season, a groin complaint saw the midfielder miss the first two months of the season. Often used as a substitute, he was forced to wait until January to earn his first Premier League start.
Finishing the season in a stronger position, the former Real Sociedad midfielder now feels confident that his groin is fully recovered and he can begin to become a key component of Paolo Di Canio's side.
"It was an issue all season really, and probably last season a bit as well," he told the Sunderland Echo. "It's something that I've got to work on and keep paying attention to in the gym. Hopefully, though, I've turned a corner and it won't be too much of an issue next season.
"I've seen a few different medical people, and the Welsh medical staff have helped me out as well. They've given me a programme, as well as the Sunderland staff. So hopefully that will cure the problem.
"It's not a major issue these days – more something that needs to be managed – because it can cause problems if it's not looked after properly. It's down to me to work a bit harder in the gym and things like that, but I'm doing that and hopefully I'll come back for a full pre-season and be able to show the best of myself.
"I think you reach your best form when you're playing consistently, and that has been something of a struggle for me at times. Next season though, fingers crossed, I'll be injury-free and be able to make more of a contribution."
Meanwhile Sunderland are understood to have submitted a bid for Tigre defender Lucas Orban.
According to reports in South America, the Black Cats have already made one offer for the player which was rejected by his club.
Beginning his career at River Plate, the 24-year-old made almost a dozen appearances for Los Millonarios, before joining current club Tigre on loan in 2011. Completing a permanent transfer a year later, Orban is able to play at both centre back or left back and is believed to have a £2.5million release clause for clubs in Europe.