David Moyes is well aware of the threat Romelu Lukaku poses to his Sunderland side today.
Lukaku joined Everton on loan the same summer that Moyes departed for Manchester United, before becoming the Goodison Park side’s record signing.
The Belgian striker’s reputation has blossomed ever since and Moyes knows his defence will have to be at their best to stop the prodigious 23-year-old.
Sunderland’s backline managed that feat impressively in the final home game of last season, a 3-0 win which clinched survival, but he returned to destroy the Wearsiders at the Stadium of Light in September, firing a blistering second-half hat-trick in a 3-0 Toffees triumph.
The former Blues boss sees shades of Everton’s great centre-forwards in Lukaku and spoke of his admiration for the Belgian.
Moyes said: “When you think of Everton, their history of number nines – Bob Latchford, Duncan Ferguson, Andy Gray, Graeme Sharp, I’ll probably get dug up for not mentioning others.
“That level, Lukaku certainly fits the bill. They’ve always loved a powerful striker, even Joe Royle in his day, and he (Lukaku) is the modern centre-forward, powerful, quick.
“I think with his goalscoring, he’s a big, big presence for Everton.
“We need to stop him.”
Moyes himself is gearing up for a return to Goodison Park, the scene of 11 successful years as manager.
His only previous return was as Manchester United boss towards the end of the 2013-14 campaign. A 2-0 win for the Blues condemning Moyes to the sack just two days later.
Moyes faced a hostile reception on the touchline and, while he expects there may well be more of the same today, it has not clouded the fondness for the club he built up over those years.
Moyes said: “Look, I had great times at Everton, great times with the supporters, and my family had great times as well.
“I’m a football supporter as well, so I know what it’s like, so if it’s good I’ll be happy but if it’s not I’ll totally understand that.
“I left, I didn’t breach contract. I’d done nearly 11 and a half years, so you’d hope it’d be correct, but I understand football nowadays.”