Hull focus on welfare of Bullard after injury

Aston Villa 3 Hull City 0

It might be stretching it a bit to say the nation is sweating on Jimmy Bullard's latest knee injury but there is no doubt he will go into his scan this morning backed only by good feeling. As Brian Horton, the Hull assistant manager, put it, when asked about the home fans' round of applause as the midfielder limped off: "Jimmy is a top-drawer lad and the Villa supporters see the quality in him."

Horton was essentially taking about the playing qualities of Bullard. And why not? In his three previous starts, the 31-year-old was so impressive in resurrecting Hull that some judges – including his manger, Phil Brown – began to mention the World Cup. But there is more to Jimmy, the painter and decorator, than all that. As well as being the current Premier League player of the month, Bullard is the Premier League character of the last few seasons; as shown the Saturday before last with a goal celebration mimicking Brown's famous on-pitch half-time rant.

Certainly his popularity and importance to this Hull outfit should not be underestimated. On Saturday evening, George Boateng talked of a dressing room not so much stunned by a poor display which led to their first defeat in five, but more by Bullard's blight. He may have been the clutching left knee and not the right knee that has already forced him to endure first a 16-month and then, this year, a 10-month absence from the game. But the tears Bullard shed when being helped off looked spookily familiar.

"We said afterwards, 'let's not think too negatively' because we don't know the extent of it," said Boateng. "It might be a strain, it might be anything. Hopefully it won't be as bad as his other injuries."

In all the sentiment it was easy to overlook a fine Villa performance which hauled them into fifth. Milner was supreme in his second consecutive display in the heart of midfield and deserved his goal, when lobbing the stranded Matt Duke from 25 yards.

There is a good look about Martin O'Neill's squad; perhaps even better than last season. "There were times last season when I felt tired going into games," admitted the full-back Luke Young. "With the depth we've got now, if someone is tired or carrying a knock we can afford to rest them."

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Friedel; Luke Young, Dunne, Cuellar, Warnock; Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing; Agbonlahor, Heskey (Carew 78). Substitutes not used: Guzan (gk), Sidwell, Delph, Reo-Coker, Beye, Clark.

Hull City (4-5-1): Duke; McShane, Zayatte, Gardner, Dawson; Garcia, Boateng, Bullard (Fagan 19), Marney (Vennegoor of Hesselink 77), Hunt; Altidore (Barmby 54). Substitutes not used: Myhill (gk), Geovanni, Kilbane, Mouyokolo.

Referee: S Attwell (Warwickshire).

Booked: Aston Villa Cuellar, Ashley Young, Luke Young, Petrov; Hull Marney, Fagan, Duke.

Man of the match: Milner.

Attendance: 39,748.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
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

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world