Manchester City v West Ham: Sam Allardyce relieved to have pressure off for one night in the Capital One Cup semi-final

West Ham manager happy to turn attention away from relegation battle for semi-final date with Manchester City

For West Ham United, Wednesday night's clash with Manchester City is an exercise in damage limitation. Sam Allardyce will task his patched-up side with fighting to keep the Capital One Cup semi-final alive into the second leg before attention switches to Saturday's trip to Cardiff, the "biggest game of the season" according to Matt Taylor.

Boosted by the return to fitness of key players – possibly even the rarely sighted Andy Carroll – the Hammers will fight on another front in the bigger battle to stay in the Premier League. But then everybody inside and outside Upton Park knows what has happened to the best-laid plans of Allardyce and his men in weeks gone by.

The League Cup is a happy oddity in West Ham's season, a silver lining amid the storm clouds. They have won more games in the competition than in the league.

The triumph at Tottenham in the quarter-finals is the sole occasion in which they have come from behind to win this season – Taylor could not remember the previous time the side had managed such a recovery (it was against Chelsea in December 2012).

Allardyce has made his priorities for the week quite clear. Sunday's "done and dusted" FA Cup humiliation was bottom of the list. At the Etihad is next best and Cardiff top priority, but for the moment it is about City and the allure of going to Wembley for a cup final, a journey the club have not made since 1981.

Allardyce spoke of the "great joy" of experiencing a Wembley cup final, as he did when he was in charge of Bolton a decade ago.

"We are in a very exciting cup tie with a massive, massive feeling of joy at the end of it if, as big as the underdogs that we are, we can get to Wembley," the manager said. "We don't have the same pressure we experience in the Premier League, that is for certain. We don't have to beat them on Wednesday. We have to come back with something realistic to beat them at home if we can."

Allardyce remains under no illusions how difficult it will be to get that "day out" at Wembley nor that it is what happens after the semi-final first leg, once West Ham have flown back south to begin preparations for Cardiff, that will decide his own future.

By 2 March, the day of the cup final, he could be out of a job whether West Ham are there or not. The clubs surrounding West Ham in the league have all dismissed their managers. On Monday the club's co-chairmen, David Gold and David Sullivan, supported theirs.

"Their track record proves they haven't rushed into anything," said Allardyce, admitting he was grateful for the public backing. "Over the last 18-20 years, the managers they've had, they've given them a good chance and stuck by them when things are not going so well.

"The reactions [of club owners in general] are getting quicker and quicker and quicker due to the impatience throughout the game for success. Success isn't built overnight. History tells you continually changing managers doesn't mean success. But I'm realistic to know I have to get results particularly quickly. In the end, we all know what happens if you don't get results as a manager."

Taylor insisted that for all the external "furore" surrounding Allardyce and the club, inside all is calm. "In-house everything is pretty buoyant," he said. "I don't believe there is a manager out there you would [rather have] in charge at this precise moment.

"You look at the teams he has managed, you look at the success he has had as a manager in keeping teams in the Premier League. I don't think I need to sit here and tell you his strong points – they are there for everybody to see."

Roger Johnson, who trained with the team for the first time following his arrival on loan from Wolves, is set to make his debut with Allardyce anxious to add more height to his back line; he highlighted City's aerial and physical threat.

Mark Noble may be fit to play at City and certainly against Cardiff as the injury crisis eases. James Collins and James Tomkins should be ready for Cardiff too and, most encouraging of all for Allardyce, Carroll could be on the bench as early as Saturday. That, at any rate, is the plan.

Pellegrini prepared for Hammers backlash

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini expects his under-fire West Ham counterpart Sam Allardyce to bounce back from his weekend FA Cup humiliation.

A youthful Hammers team were thrashed 5-0 by Championship side Nottingham Forest on Sunday, increasing pressure on Allardyce, but Pellegrini is reading little into that result ahead of the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg.

Pellegrini said: "They had an awful result but they played with young players. I am absolutely sure this will be a very different game."

Kick-off 7.45pm

Television Sky Sports 1

Referee J Moss (Tyne & Wear)

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence