Chester can handle the huge threat of Carroll

The prospect of facing a rampant Andy Carroll tomorrow does not faze Hull City's James Chester - the defender has crossed swords regularly with the West Ham striker since they were eight-year-olds.

The pair first came up against each other when Chester was at Manchester United's academy and Carroll (below) was playing for Newcastle.

Even then Carroll - now 6ft 4in - was a giant while Chester - at 5ft 10in - is on the small side for a central defender, but the Hull player says he has always been confident of handling the 26-year-old, who is 17 days older than him.

Chester said: "Andy is someone I have played against since I was eight or nine growing up at Man United while he was at Newcastle - he always seems to have been that tall!

"Hopefully I have played against him enough to know how to deal with it.

"On the ground he's no different to anybody else but obviously it's his height that causes the problem, but if you can get close to him and get people around him it's a way of counter-acting that.

"I have played against him for a long time but it's going to be a difficult game as he has been in such great form."

Hull's real difficulties may come at the other end where problems picked up by strikers Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez last weekend left manager Steve Bruce cursing the worst injury spell of his 17-year managerial career.

Bruce said: "I don't think I have ever had it so bad. It looks like I am not going to be able to pick my strongest team at all this season. We lost (Robert) Snodgrass 22 minutes into the first game of the season and we haven't seen him since."