IN the modern-day Premier League, Andy Carroll is often regarded as something of a throwback to a bygone age.
The one-time England international is a battering ram of a striker, someone who roughs up defenders in such a cage-rattling manner that it makes it hard for younger fans to believe that, once-upon-a-time, most teams had an Andy Carroll or two.
Tomorrow, the job of containing Carroll will fall to Hull City and James Chester insists the Yorkshire side cannot wait to lock horns.
“I’ve played against Andy in youth football,” said the former Manchester United apprentice. “Though that seems a long time ago now.
“I just remember him being a big lad and difficult to play against. Even back then, he wasn’t far off 6ft 5ins. Though he didn’t have long hair then, I am not sure where that came from.
“When we played Newcastle, he was the one who always stood out for them because he was bigger and he did have ability.
“But, being at United, it was more focused on ourselves.”
Carroll will not, of course, be the only focus for Hull at Upton Park. The Hammers, after a summer rebuilding job by Sam Allardyce, carry all manner of threats this season.
Thus was evident in September, when the two teams claimed a point apiece from a thrilling 2-2 draw at the KC Stadium.
Since then, Hull’s season has tailed off dramatically and they currently occupy a relegation slot.
Chester said: “We are struggling for numbers and we’ve not kept as many clean sheets as we had done last season.
“We need to shore up a little bit and if we keep more clean sheets we’ll pick up more points.”
Chester is likely to be press-ganged into a right-back place again. This, though, will not prevent him having to tackle the aerial threat of Carroll from time to time and try to overcome a big difference in height.
“My height is often brought up but usually by people who haven’t watched me play,” said the defender. “I can jump higher than most and I am fairly intelligent, so it has never seemed to hamper me too much. I’m 5ft 11ins, at a push. Growing up, I was always aware of it because people mentioned it, but some of the best centre-halves in the world were small.
“When I was at United, we were shown videos of (Franco) Baresi. He wasn’t the tallest and he was one of the best ever, and (Fabio) Cannavaro.
“Then watching people such as Thomas Vermaelen and Phil Jagielka, that gave me confidence that I could reach the top level even with my height.”