Jimmy Bullard could make his latest comeback from injury in Hull's Barclays Premier League clash against West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday.
The midfielder damaged his left knee in City's defeat by 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.
"Jimmy in his own head needs one or two games, not full games necessarily, and a little bit of contact from opposition," said Tigers boss Phil 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."
Bullard first injured his right knee in September 2006 and did not play again for more than a year but 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% 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."
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