Hull boss Phil Brown hopes Jimmy Bullard will take centre stage after he made his long-awaited return in Monday night's 2-0 defeat by Fulham.
Bullard made only his second appearance for the Tigers after his debut in January was wrecked by a serious knee injury that has kept him sidelined since.
"It's very important for us to get Jimmy in the team, that's the reason we bought him," said Brown. "When he plays, Jimmy has the responsibility of getting on the ball and making us tick. We saw glimpses of that in the second half."
He added: "Unfortunately he came on at a time when we needed to get something from the game and that opens things up."
The £5million record signing from Fulham was given a hostile reception at Craven Cottage, with the fans who once idolised him heavily booing his 58th-minute arrival as a substitute.
Brown revealed Bullard took the reaction in his stride, and said: "Jimmy's fine after getting that reception. He's a great character, the type that takes some knocking down.
"It didn't matter whether he had 10,000 or 50,000 screaming for his head, he knew he had to play football. That's the character I want."
Fulham climbed to 12th in the Barclays Premier League after Bobby Zamora inspired a triumphant 130th anniversary match.
Zamora, who held talks about a move to Hull in the summer, notched only his second league goal of the season before setting up strike partner Diomansy Kamara after the interval of a match Fulham dominated.
"We allowed Bobby to talk to Hull but at the same time I made it clear to him that we felt we could still get a lot from him," said Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson. "With him it's not just about scoring, he's also an important target and feature of our attacking play. I'm glad he stayed."