English Premiership

Big Sam gets Hammers backing

2014-01-06 19:02
Sam Allardyce (AFP)

London - West Ham manager Sam Allardyce received something close to the dreaded vote of confidence from the club's co-chairmen on Monday following the Premier League club's embarrassing 5-0 FA Cup defeat by second-tier Nottingham Forest.

In an open letter on the east London club's website, David Gold and David Sullivan backed Allardyce to turn around the fortunes of the Hammers, currently second bottom and facing relegation from English football's lucrative top flight.

"We know Sam has not lost his ambition or desire and is committed to making West Ham United a great Premier League club," the open letter read.

"Sam has been handed a near impossible task of coming through three crucial games in the space of six days with a squad of only 14 fit and available senior players.

"We have experienced difficult times before and we know what will get us results - hard work, determination and perseverance.

"To that end, we are all working round the clock to do everything in our powers to help arrest our slump in form."

That lengthy injury list has seen the Hammers have to do without striker Andy Carroll so far this season, while James Tomkins, Winston Reid, James Collins, Mark Noble and Ricardo Vaz Te are currently sidelined, with club captain Kevin Nolan suspended.

"Our first priority is to get our key players fit," the letter added.

"Our record signing Andy Carroll continues to make good progress following his return to first-team training and he should be back on the pitch very soon...Trust us, Andy Carroll is desperate to play and is ready to do his bit for the team and we are confident that the return of all of our injured players will lead to an upturn in our fortunes.

"Thereafter, our second priority is to bring in the new talent needed to bolster our squad in the most needed areas.

"January is not an easy time to do business but we are pleased to confirm we are close to securing one of our key striking targets. A defender is high on the list of priorities as well and progress is being made on that front."

However, the Hammers do at least have a League Cup semi-final against Premier League rivals Manchester City to look forward to, with the first leg at Eastlands on Wednesday.

And Allardyce said the fact that fixture was on the horizon lay behind his decision to rest several senior players from the Forest clash, with the Hammers fielding five debutants and three players with fewer than 10 first-team appearances between them.

"First-team players were rested (against Forest) to play Wednesday, the last thing I wanted to do was have players going in to the semi-final fatigued or not as fresh as City, who have a much bigger, more talented squad," he said.

"We planned to get as many fit for Wednesday and Saturday as possible but I don't think by Wednesday we'll have any defenders fit certainly. By Saturday we might.

"All of our defenders in central areas are missing and until they are back fit again and stay fit it puts us in a very, very difficult situation."

As for his controversial selection against Forest, Allardyce added: "To be fair, there were too many of them (novice players) on the field. I would have liked to play three or four but that wasn't the case with a massive Capital One (League) Cup semi-final coming up."

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