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Oct 29, 2008

Hull aim to scalp Chelsea on busy night of action

Hull City are targeting another high profile Premier League scalp when they play host to Chelsea on Wednesday night.

With six wins in nine games, including headline-grabbing results over Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, Hull are third in the league and already halfway to amassing a points total that should see them avoid relegation in their debut season in the top flight.

However, Chelsea will provide stiff opposition following their 1-0 defeat on Sunday to title rivals Liverpool, a loss which brought about the end of their 86-game unbeaten home record.

Twelve months ago Hull were struggling in the Championship and were thrashed 4-0 at the KC Stadium by Chelsea in the Carling Cup, but turned around their season - winning the play-off final - to reach the Premier League where they have been a revelation and are level on points with Chelsea going into the game.

While Chelsea's preparation for the midweek fixture was a defeat to home to Liverpool, Hull by contrast beat fellow promoted club West Bromwich Albion 3-0 away on Saturday.

"We've got a couple of massive games on the horizon now and we've earned the right to at least give a good account of ourselves instead of everyone calling us whipping boys," said Tigers coach Phil Brown.

With Chelsea looking to bounce back from that defeat some feel that Hull's dream start could come to an abrupt end on Wednesday. And if it doesn't, perhaps it will on Saturday when they travel to champions Manchester United.

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech believes Chelsea will need to be at their best if they are to shake off the Liverpool defeat and is wary of Hull's threat.

"They (Hull) have confidence and have nothing to lose, this is really dangerous," Cech told Chelsea's website. "When you win promotion and get some positive results you go into every game fighting and enjoying it. Every year you have one of the promoted sides starting so well and this time it is Hull and we know what to expect from them."

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Premier League leaders Liverpool play host to Portsmouth who will be under the stewardship of Tony Adams, who replaced Harry Redknapp as manager at the start of the week.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez singled out former Anfield favourite Peter Crouch as a key threat, saying: ''I am sure he will come here with that extra motivation, I would be surprised if he felt any different playing again at Anfield. He did well here, the fans liked him, and we know he will be dangerous.''

Fourth-placed Arsenal host Tottenham Hotspur in one of the most anticipated north-London derbies in years following the sacking of Juande Ramos and subsequent appointment of Redknapp as the Spaniard's replacement.

Despite their position at the bottom of the league, Spurs fans are far more optimistic after Sunday's morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers.

Sixth-placed Manchester United, held 1-1 at Everton on Saturday, host West Ham United while fifth-placed Aston Villa will take on Blackburn Rovers at Villa Park.

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