Brown coy on Bullard return
Tigers boss faces Bullard selection headache
By Jonathan Witty. Last Updated: February 16, 2010 1:46pm
Bullard could return against West Ham
Hull manager Phil Brown has revealed that Jimmy Bullard could make his return from injury for Saturday's crunch clash at West Ham.
Both teams are mired in relegation trouble and Brown has refused to rule out Bullard, who is recovering from medial ligament damage suffered against Aston Villa in December.
"It's still very early stages of Jimmy's comeback," Brown told the Hull Daily Mail.
"He has been out on the training ground with the first team and been floating around in training situations.
"It's been non-contact stuff at the minute. He's feeling his way back in at the minute and the players, more than anyone, are aware of what he's capable of."
Brown could be reluctant to bring back the influential midfielder, who has suffered a spate of serious injuries in recent years.
Just last season, Bullard missed six months of the campaign with a knee injury, having previously dislocated his kneecap whilst playing for Fulham in 2006.
Brown added: "Everyone at this club wants Jimmy Bullard playing as soon as possible but it's still far too early in the week to make a decision over Saturday."
Meanwhile, team-mate Anthony Gardner believes the Tigers must take advantage of fixtures against their near rivals, starting with Saturday's showdown at Upton Park.
Hull suffered a disappointing 1-0 reverse at fellow relegation candidates Blackburn last week and Gardner knows his side cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to retain their Premier League status.
"We must stay positive," said Gardner. "I feel we can get points at home and away during the run-in but it's a big challenge.
"It was a big missed opportunity at Blackburn. A few of the teams around us won, but that should not concern us.
"We can only focus on our jobs. If we do the business, we will be fine.
"The focus is on West Ham. They won last week (against Birmingham) but we believe we can go there and win.
"I think we will need a bit of everything, A bit of grit, a bit of togetherness and determination. We have those in abundance so we should be fine."