Sunderland midfielder Kieran Richardson has vowed to hit the ground running when the 2008/09 season gets under way.

Richardson signed at the Stadium of Light last summer from Manchester United for a fee of £5.5million.

But the 23-year-old endured an injury-plagued campaign, tallying just 15 Premier League starts over the course of the season.

"Last season was very difficult because shortly after I arrived I discovered a stress fracture in my back and the cure was rest," he said in the Sunday Mirror.

"That kept me out for four months and made me lose fitness I had built up during pre-season.

"So when I came back I had put on 10 kilos which I felt was a bit too heavy for me.

"In the last 20 minutes of games the extra weight was taking its toll and I think that might have played a part in my hamstring going. "I want to show the Sunderland fans the best of me and repay the manager for bringing me here."