Fulham can handle Chelsea striker Fernando Torres - Chris Baird

Defender ready for £50m man

Chris Baird is relishing the challenge of facing Chelsea forward Fernando Torres, but insists Fulham can keep the Spaniard quiet during Monday night’s west London derby.

Torres, who signed from Liverpool for a British record £50 million on transfer deadline day, endured a difficult debut after losing to his former club at Stamford Bridge last week.

Despite a poor performance last Sunday, Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti is again expected to partner the 26-year-old with both Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba.

Although Baird is wary of the striker's threat, he is confident Fulham can deal with him.

"Torres is a great talent,” he told reporters.

“He did fantastically well for Liverpool and scored a lot of goals for them. But he has not done as well against us. He has scored just two goals against us in the Premier League."

He added: "He's always a threat and with the talent Chelsea have got he is always going to get chances to score, but hopefully we can keep him quiet again against us."

The Northern Ireland international, who has been playing at left-back for Fulham recently, admits he was surprised to see Torres switch to London.

"I was surprised to see him go to Chelsea, but not for the price. It will be weird seeing him in a blue kit," he said.

Despite facing an attack worth almost £90m, Baird feels Fulham need to concentrate on themselves.

"We will not be preparing any differently to face the three of them. We just have to concentrate on our own game," added Baird.

"We have been doing well and getting points on the board. We have been climbing the table. It's all up to us and how we play.

Versatile Baird says the derby is always a game every player looks forward too.

"The derby is always a great game for anyone involved with the club. It is a local derby so it is always a big game for us.

"It is also a difficult game, what with the talent they have. But we are at home and we are playing well there at the moment, so we are looking forward to it."

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