Phil Brown says starting with Jimmy Bullard against Portsmouth is a 'no-brainer' if the midfielder declares himself fit.
Bullard missed training on Thursday, just days after making his long-awaited return for Hull City as a second-half substitute at Fulham on Monday.
Brown insists there was nothing sinister about Bullard sitting out the session as he had also played for the reserves since the Craven Cottage clash and needed the extra rest.
The Tigers manager believes the appearance Bullard made for the second string in midweek may have toughened him up sufficiently for a first team start after months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Asked about the 30-year-old missing training, Brown said on Sky Sports News: "Jimmy's was purely precautionary.
"He has travelled all the way back from Fulham having probably done 10 to 15 minutes more than we wanted.
"He requested to play against Wigan and there was a combative midfielder playing for them and he got into a tackle.
"He got what he needs to tell you the truth, a bit of physical contact to make sure the knee is 100 per cent ready in his own head, so it is just an extra day's rest, that's all."
Brown understands why it might be considered a bit of a risk to start with Bullard in Saturday's KC Stadium encounter with fellow strugglers Portsmouth.
But he maintains that Bullard is just too good to leave out of the line-up if he is entirely happy with his fitness.
"Of course there is reservation, it is seven or eight months after major surgery but the bottom line is it's about Jimmy and his mental state," Brown explained.
"If he says to me on Friday morning that he is ready to play then to me it's a no-brainer."