But the choice of Barmby will raise eyebrows as the 35-year-old has only made four appearances as a substitute so far this season, making it doubtful whether he will in fact lead the side out against Wigan Athletic at the weekend.
But Brown is confident he has made the right choice in Barmby, who joined Hull in the summer of 2004 and has made 125 league appearances for the club.
"This is something that has got Nicky's name written all over it," Brown told the club's official website. "He has matured into a leader, none more so than over the last couple of years at Hull City.
"He's had a lot of close relationships with managers during his career and I feel as though I have got a close relationship with him. We speak frankly about things and we share things, none more so than about what is happening at Hull City at the moment. He is a strong enough character in the dressing room."
Ashbee remains six months away from a return to action so Barmby is now handed the responsibility of reinvigorating a side that has claimed only one victory in seven league games this season to sit 19th in the Premier League table.