Bullard's wounded knee is ready for Hammers test

Hull's talisman could play a part against former club after recovering from injury

Jimmy Bullard could make his latest comeback from injury in Hull's Premier League clash against West Ham at Upton Park tomorrow. The midfielder damaged his left knee in City's defeat away to Aston Villa on December 5 and limped off the field in tears.

The blow came less than two months after he had returned to action following surgery to his right knee which kept him out for nearly 10 months. He first injured the knee in September 2006 and did not play again for more than a year, so Hull boss Phil Brown is keen not to rush his record signing.

"Jimmy in his own head needs one or two games, not full games necessarily, and a little bit of contact from opposition," said Brown. "Probably on Saturday he might play some part in terms of the bench but he won't be ready to start. Then we've got a game against Wigan in the reserves next Tuesday and we've arranged a game over in Ireland and again that will be earmarked for Jimmy.

"Jimmy's raring to go and it's just managing that situation. We did it very successfully last time. It's piecing that jigsaw together and making sure when he crosses the white line in his first game back that he's ready not just to play but to grab a hold of the game in that fashion that only Jimmy Bullard can do."

And Brown is confident the former Fulham midfielder's natural exuberance on the park will not be affected by yet another serious injury. "The knee is not 100 per cent but it's getting somewhere near," Brown explained. "It's a new reference point because it's a completely fresh injury on a different leg.

"Jimmy's feeling confident about it, the twisting and turning that he's done, and now a lot of work with the ball. If you can control the ball and control the game like Jimmy does, then the confidence follows.

"Psychology plays its part in any recovery and Jimmy has had a whole host of injuries that he's come back from. So that suggests to me that psychologically Jimmy is very strong.

"He's relishing the challenge. He had that challenge at Fulham, they were in dire straits and he came back in and arrested it. He gets players playing."

Bullard began his career with West Ham, the club he supported as a boy, but his last match at Upton Park – on his Hull debut – ended with him suffering the knee injury that required his second bout of surgery. The result that day – a 2-0 victory for the Hammers – made it a doubly bad day for Brown and, with both sides going into the clash only a point above the bottom three, he is determined to make amends.

"It was a place last year where we went and let ourselves down," said the Tigers boss. "It was also a bad night for us with regards to Jimmy Bullard but it's up to us now to put that right."

Brown, meanwhile, has condemned the punishment handed out to Wolves by the Football Association for fielding a below-strength team at Manchester United in December.

Wolves were today given a £25,000 suspended fine after manager Mick McCarthy made 10 changes to his line-up in a game his team lost 3-0. Brown added: "The buck stops with the manager and therefore team selection is down to the manager.

"If Wolves are a Premier League team at the end of the season then Mick McCarthy was justified in his selection, end of story. I'm glad they've suspended it because it's a nonsense that Wolves are getting fined."

Former Republic of Ireland manager McCarthy was reluctant to broach the subject at his press conference ahead of tomorrow's home meeting with leaders Chelsea. But he did concede the action of the league will mean he cannot make the same drastic move again when choosing his side.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick