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JIMMY BULLARD was dubbed the Elephant Man after being punched in the face by Fulham team-mate Chris Baird.

The ugly confrontation happened in training for Sunday’s match against Aston Villa.

Bullard — just back in action after 16 months out with a knee injury — caught Baird, 25, with a tackle.

Northern Ireland international Baird started arguing with his team-mate and then lashed out as Bullard, 29, laughed off the incident.

Furious manager Roy Hodgson, locked in a desperate battle for Premiership survival, separated the players.

Then he lectured the team about the need to pull together and said he would not accept such behaviour.

Baird now faces a club punishment as Hodgson is a strict disciplinarian.

The incident failed to dampen the squad’s sense of humour as they joked that Bullard’s badly-swollen nose made him look like the Elephant Man.