West Ham boss Sam Allardyce taking care of players as he looks to avoid more injuries within his squad

  • Allardyce is making sure he eases his players back to match fitness
  • The Hammers are without several key players currently most notably skipper Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll
  • Allardyce has admitted training is very limited at West Ham at the moment

By Press Association Reporter

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is easing his players back to match fitness in an attempt to avoid picking up any early season injury concerns.

With only two Barclays Premier League games played so far, Allardyce is already missing captain Kevin Nolan and club-record signing Andy Carroll with shoulder and ankle injuries, respectively.

Defenders James Collins and Arsenal loanee Carl Jenkinson are both absent with hamstring problems while Matt Jarvis is missing and new signing Diafra Sakho - who opened his account for the Hammers in their Capital One Cup second-round defeat to Sheffield United - is struggling with tightness in his back.

Concern: Allardyce doesn't want any more players being added to the ever growing injury list at Upton Park

Concern: Allardyce doesn't want any more players being added to the ever growing injury list at Upton Park

All of that means Allardyce is low on numbers as he looks to add to the 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace last weekend when he welcomes Southampton to Upton Park on Saturday.

West Ham suffered a chronic injury situation over the turn of the year as the club became embroiled in a battle to escape the Barclays Premier League bottom three.

Expectations among the club's supporters and owners is that Allardyce replicates the top-half finish of two years ago, but the manager is already having to be tentative with his players.

'Our training is very limited at the moment,' he said.

'We're nursing the lads through training to be available for the game on Saturday. It's getting rather too long, the list, but saying that, after last Saturday's performance - and Tuesday's too - we're looking pretty good as a team in the way we're playing.

'What we haven't done at home is turn the two good performances into results and that's a little concern, because we need to be more ruthless and finish teams off, as we did against Crystal Palace.'

New addition:  £12million man Enner Valencia has yet to get off the mark for his new club

New addition:  £12million man Enner Valencia has yet to get off the mark for his new club

Mauro Zarate, Stewart Downing and Carlton Cole were all on target at Selhurst Park but it is profligate finishing that has cost West Ham dear in both their opening day league defeat to Tottenham and Tuesday's penalty shoot-out cup exit.

With Carroll sidelined, Allardyce has signed Sakho, Zarate and Enner Valencia to provide goals in the absence of the England international.

While Sakho and Zarate are off the mark, Ecuador World Cup star Valencia has yet to notch his first Hammers goal and was guilty of missing a number of chances against the Blades - including the pivotal penalty in the shoot-out.

But Allardyce has jumped to the defence of his new striker, rumoured to have cost the club a fee in the region of £12million, and believes the best is to come once the 25-year-old has improved his fitness.

'The trouble with football is that people expect players to come in straight away,' he said.

'His first full game since the World Cup was on Tuesday, and if he had been playing his first game in pre-season, we'd have given him 45 minutes.

'We had to play him for 120 minutes because of the circumstances - he got through it exceptionally well, but he has a long way to go still to catch his match fitness up.

Captain fantastic: Kevin Nolan's
Injury prone: Carroll's prolonged absence has been a cause for concern for Sam Allardyce

Injury woes: Both Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll are out injured for the Hammers currently

'When a new player comes in everybody expects him to be ready in 10 days or two weeks. It's mind-boggling to me how people keep asking about him and keep saying why is he not playing.

'I've heard that for the last 10-12 years, but I know it's my job to make sure he is 100 per cent fit to be ready to go on a regular basis. And once he does that, we hope he proves himself as soon as he possibly can to show the goalscoring ability we know he has got.'

Goalkeeper Adrian is likely to return against Southampton after being rested for the cup tie, with Saints travelling to east London in search of their first league win of the campaign.

Ronald Koeman's side have lost at Anfield and were held at home by West Brom last weekend but, although their new manager is still implementing his own style on the south coast, Adrian is only interested in what West Ham can achieve.

'I don't know if anything is good for us or bad for us,' he said.

'A lot of players have left and they have a new manager, but the most important thing is us. We need to give a good performance and feel comfortable in Upton Park and win the three points. After this game, we have the international break, so it's very important for us.

'Last season Southampton were very strong under Mauricio Pochettino. This season they have a new manager and a new system, but I repeat that we should only focus on what we can do as a team and our own performance, and hopefully we can win.' 


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