Preston North End's striker Jon Parkin is not nicknamed "The Beast" for nothing but if John Terry, the Chelsea and England captain, was currently unaware of his reputation then Parkin plans to change all that this weekend.
At 6 feet and 4 inches, Parkin is simply massive. He has a footballing physique that has largely disappeared in the age of ice baths, dieticians and the other fitness paraphernalia that comes with modern football.
That is not to say he is fat in the Mick Quinn model of old, just that when Parkin hits either a football or a defender's body, they have a tendency to remain hit for quite some time.
Yet he also has the archetypal "great touch for a big bloke" but knows only too well that he has long been pigeonholed as a player who uses ballast as much as brains and he is therefore willing to display all of that when Chelsea visit Deepdale for their fourth round FA Cup tie tomorrow. And nobody is likely to feel Parkin's physical intent more than Terry.
"I am looking forward to playing against him," he said. "That would be a lovely experience for me. He is a world-class centre-half and it would be nice to see how I get on against him. I like a battle against a player that has a physical style and I certainly won't be running away from him.
"If we can have a good battle it would be a good crack," Terry said. "I have never played against him before so it would be a great experience to see how I do.
Parkin admits that Chelsea's 7-2 pummelling of Sunderland last weekend has raised some eyebrows in their corner of Lancashire but it has certainly not created a "why us next" mentality within Darren Ferguson's side. In other words, North End fancy their chances.
"The game is not daunting as such," Parkin said. "There was a bit of banter about their scoreline on Monday morning during training. We talked about their score but Saturday is a different game.
"We haven't given [goalkeeper] Andy Lonergan any stick but I think he knows he could be having a busy day so he will be expecting that. We are pitting ourselves against arguably the best team in the country so it is something we are looking forward to," Parkin said. "We tend to focus on what we are going to do rather than what they are going to do.
"There have been a few shocks and we are hoping we will be the next one in line. It's going to be a massive uphill struggle but we will just go out there, give 100 per cent and see what happens."Reuse content