By Craig Hope
ANDY Carroll took his tally for the season to eight with a double against Cardiff City on Friday night, but all the post-match talk was of the number nine - and whether the Geordie striker has the potential to one day wear the club's most cherished jersey.
Manager Chris Hughton had in the build up to the game challenged his forward men to earn the right to inherit the legendary shirt, previously donned with distinction by the likes of Alan Shearer, Andy Cole and Malcolm Macdonald.
And, following a performance packed with power, aerial supremacy and, perhaps most importantly, goals, the question was put to boss Hughton of Carroll's No.9 credentials.
"Potentially, he is number nine material. He's a player who leads the line," said the gaffer following the 5-1 success.