Hull City boss Phil Brown admits he will have to 'pick and choose' the right games for Nick Barmby to play in for the rest of the season.
The Tigers are battling to stay in the Premier League and Brown perceives Barmby's experience to be a key factor in the fight for survival.
Barmby, who was sidelined earlier in the season with a calf injury, has started just seven games in the league, while making six appearances from the bench.
Brown admits the 35-year-old is finding top-flight football tough, but hopes the midfielder will be able to play an influential role in the coming weeks.
"It's a case of looking at the remaining games and picking and choosing which games to play him in," Brown told the Hull Daily Mail.
"He's finding the Premier League brutal at the moment, but his inclusion in four or five of the remaining eight games will be key - it's just making sure we pick the right ones."
Barmby was left on the bench for Sunday's defeat at Wigan Athletic, having scored at Arsenal in the FA Cup earlier in the week, but Brown acknowledged he needs to manage the former England international's fitness.
He added: "People will scrutinise my every decision between now and the end of the season, but that's the business we're in.
"Everyone wants to know why certain people aren't playing.
"Nicky Barmby's position was Geovanni's and I thought he was the one capable of unlocking Wigan.
"The other option was up top, but I felt Caleb Folan going back to his old club might be the spur.
"A fully-fit Nicky Barmby is a great asset. He was fit enough to be on the bench at Wigan, but it's about managing a player's fitness."