Hull defender Anthony Gardner has declared himself fit for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash against Portsmouth.
The injury-plagued 28-year-old, who made only eight appearances last season after his £2.5m move from Tottenham, has not played since the Tigers’ defeat of Bolton on August 22.
After thigh and back problems last term, a knee injury has been the cause of his latest lay-off but he is now confident he is back to full fitness.
Gardner said: “I’m feeling good, ready to go.
“It’s been two months since I last played a Prem game so I’m ready to get involved in the game at the weekend.
“Throughout all the time I’ve been trying to get right I’ve been travelling to some of the games.
“It’s hard when you know you can’t be out there, supporting your team-mates and helping them try to get the results we know we can get.
“It’s frustrating but that’s the way football is and you just have to deal with it.
“But now I just want to be out there and help the lads.”
Gardner was close to being handed a place on the bench for Monday’s defeat at Fulham but manager Phil Brown chose to exercise more caution.
His eventual return would give a lift to a Hull side struggling in 18th place in the table and with just two league wins in the whole of 2009.
Brown said: “He’s trained all week and fingers crossed he’ll come through tomorrow unscathed and can play some part in the game on Saturday.”
Record signing Jimmy Bullard could also be in contention for his first start for the club after making his long-awaited comeback in the Craven Cottage loss.
Bullard had been sidelined for nine months after suffering a serious knee injury on his Tigers debut in January.
The midfielder – 31 tomorrow – continued his comeback with another outing in the reserves on Tuesday.
He has not trained since but Brown has been quick to quell suggestions the player might have suffered any setbacks.
Brown said: “Jimmy did nearly a full half against Fulham and then did 60 minutes against Wigan the following day.
“Consequently the press have been asking why he wasn’t out there today – but he has had an extra day’s rest.
“If there is no effect from the two games in two days Jimmy will stand a very good chance of playing a part in the game on Saturday.”
Captain Nick Barmby should also be fit to return after missing Monday’s game with a calf problem.