CH­ESTER WINS GAME OF PA­TIENCE

Midweek Sport - - ON THE NOSE - By JAMES McMATH

(in­set) JAMES CH­ESTER had to play pa­tience to get back into Steve Bruce’s plans at Hull.

The cen­tre-back (left) has hooked up with Wales this week on a high after re­turn­ing to ac­tion for the Tigers.

Ch­ester was back after a four-match ab­sence to help Hull seal a 2-0 win over Crys­tal Palace on Satur­day.

Ch­ester is com­pet­ing with new sign­ing Michael Daw­son and skip­per Cur­tis Davies for a place in the team – but Bruce found space for him by switch­ing to three at the back.

Ch­ester re­vealed: “I’m not the type to go knock­ing on the man­ager’s door. Not straight away any­way.

“I knew my op­por­tu­nity would come sooner rather than later, so I held my tongue for a while.

“I’m not daft. I knew my chance would come hope­fully I’ve taken it.”

Hull spent nearly £40mil­lion on new sign­ings in the sum­mer.

Ba­sics

and

The fresh tal­ent has helped the side be more at­tack­ing – but that has led to de­fen­sive frail­ties and the Palace re­sult was their first clean sheet since the open­ing day of the sea­son.

Ch­ester added: “Since we brought the new lads in we’ve been a lot more at­tack­ing and scor­ing a lot more goals.

“But we’ve also gone away from what kept us up last sea­son, so it was nice to get back to ba­sics against Palace.

“I wouldn’t say we reined in the at­tack­ing senses but we had to be tighter de­fen­sively. We showed that.

“If we get the bal­ance of clean sheets and scor­ing goals, it will hope­fully be a good sea­son.”

One boost for Villa has been the re­turn to fit­ness of Christian Ben­teke after a six-month lay-off – and Joe Cole has likened his team-mate to a cross be­tween Di­dier Drogba and Peter Crouch.

The Bel­gium hit­man made his ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated come­back as a sub­sti­tute for the fi­nal half-hour of Satur­day’s 2-0 de­feat to Manch­ester City.

Cole said: “From afar, I’ve watched Christian and ad­mired him for the last two years in the Premier League.

“He’s been su­perb and his per­for­mances have been top stan­dard.

“I can see a bit of Di­dier in him, he’s very strong and pow­er­ful. He pos­sesses those qual­i­ties in abun­dance.

“I can also see that he likes the ball to feet and he is el­e­gant with the ball, de­spite his height, which re­minds me of Crouchy.

“He’s a mix­ture of both re­ally and I’m look­ing for­ward to play­ing with him in the Premier League.

“I’ve played with some top, top for­wards and I hope to do so with Christian soon too.”

IM­PROV­ING: Ron Vlaar

FEEL­ING THE STRAIN: In­jured Stur­ridge wants to get back to scor­ing goals

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