CHRIS Wood is hoping his goalscoring heroics with Ashley Barnes on Saturday can rekindle a strike partnership last seen seven years ago.

Record signing Wood made his return from injury off the bench against Everton on Saturday and headed a late winner after Barnes had netted an equaliser earlier in the second half.

The pair caused the Toffees plenty of problems in their 45 minutes on the pitch and with both finding the back of the net they have done their chances of starting together at West Ham next week no harm.

The last time they started a match together was Brighton's 1-1 draw with Notts County on the final day of the 2010/11 League One season, when Wood was 19 and Barnes 21.

They netted 10 goals in 13 starts together for the Seagulls and it hasn't taken long for that understanding to return.

"Hopefully we can both kick on now and finish in double figures," said Wood, who is one behind Barnes' tally of six goals.

"I’ve known Barnesy a long time now, we played together at Brighton and we had a good partnership there, so hopefully we can keep going."

The combination could be a handful for defences in the Premier League, although Wood credits Barnes with doing most of that work.

"I just think they don’t like playing against Barnesy. I’d hate to play against him," the 26-year-old said.

"We all have different elements to our game, he’s a very strong-minded character and he’s fantastic in that way.

"It’s nice that we can hopefully cause a lot more problems between now and the end of the season."

Barnes rise to the Premier League - where he has now netted 16 goals - began in the Southern League Division One South and West with Paulton Rovers. His combative approach has served him well through every level and Wood said he hadn't changed from those early years with Brighton.

"He’s still exactly the same, he hasn’t changed one bit, he’s still a brilliant lad. He’s great," he said.

Barnes has been leading the line in Wood's absence, with the Kiwi making his first appearance since December 23 on Saturday when he suffered a knee injury against Tottenham.

It was initially hoped that Wood would be out for just two or three weeks but the injury proved more troublesome than first thought, so the former Leeds United striker was delighted to be back with a bang against Everton.

"It’s very good to be be back, you miss it when you’re not playing," he said.

"It’s frustrating not being able to help the lads and not being able to contribute, it’s frustrating in general being injured, most players have been through it. It’s just not nice.

"It took a couple of setbacks, which was unfortunate, then it rolled into a longer one than we were expecting, which was frustrating for the staff and for me personally, I was gutted to be out for so long.

"It hurts to be out, but it’s nice to be back and a good run at the end of the season would be lovely."