Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gritty Kyle Earns Bagfuls of Praise

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gritty Kyle Earns Bagfuls of Praise

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Sunderland will today make the longest trip in league football when they head to Plymouth. But Kevin Kyle has already gone the extra mile for the Black Cats' cause, as Paul Gilder reports.

HAVING spent his formative years loading heavy baggage on to the ferries at Stranraer, Kevin Kyle understands what it is to work hard far better than the majority of his peers at the Stadium of Light.

But, although his days of hauling suitcases have long been consigned to the past, a player who carries Sunderland's promotion prospects on his broad shoulders refuses to take it easy.

"I'm sure that the shift he puts in on a Saturday these days is harder than the work he used to do," said Mick McCarthy, whose admiration for his industrious number nine is clear.

"He usually has two or three on his back on a Saturday afternoon these days."

Kyle has spent the summer carrying a painful hip problem which would have sidelined many players.

That he has defiantly shrugged off a troubling injury to spearhead the Sunderland attack in the opening weeks of the Coca-Cola Championship campaign has helped to further endear the durable Scot to the supporters who once derided his talents.

The Wearside medical team are hoping that the striker's latest consultation with a specialist, and a subsequent steroid injection, will resolve the situation once and for all.

Kyle, his mind put at ease by this week's developments, will again lead the line at Home Park this afternoon.

"Whenever you get an injury and you can't get to the bottom of it, you wonder what is wrong," said McCarthy, whose failure to sufficiently strengthen his striking ranks this summer would prove to be a major problem should he lose the staunch services of Kyle for any length of time.

"Hopefully it's resolved now. It's an inflammation as much as anything, we're hoping the injection will settle it right down and he will be fine for the Plymouth game."

McCarthy will certainly need Kyle's imposing presence at Home Park as the Black Cats come up against a Plymouth side who have yet to concede a goal this season, and who will attempt to become the outright leaders of the Championship by the close of play tonight. …

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