Manchester City v West Ham: Victory not crucial for Sam Allardyce

The Hammers are struggling in the Premier League and were beaten 5-0 in the FA Cup

Sam Allardyce insists it is not win or bust for his out-of-form Hammers when they visit Manchester City in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.

With a 5-0 FA Cup mauling at Nottingham Forest coming on the back of a run of one win in 13 Barclays Premier League games, the final four meeting with City is a welcome distraction for Allardyce's side.

The dismal December run means West Ham sit 19th in the league but Allardyce will not be too downbeat if his side fail to pick up a rare win at the Etihad Stadium and just wants to remain in the tie.

"We don't have to beat them on Wednesday night," he said.

"We have to come back with something realistic to beat them at home if we can. We have to stay as focused as we can and we have to nullify what is a great attacking force at home. Everybody knows what that is and how good that is."

Allardyce has cited the example of Crystal Palace, who pushed City all the way in a 1-0 defeat in December.

He said: "We have to work along the lines of what Crystal Palace did recently which was be very well organised, be a very well structured team that makes it extremely difficult for the talents that Manchester City have got.

"Hopefully we can do that on Wednesday night and when we come to the end of the game it's only half-time at that stage."

The 59-year-old fielded an inexperienced side at Forest with just 14 available first-team players and, with his current injury plight, Allardyce cannot enjoy the semi-final experience as much as he would like.

"I would have preferred it to come with a lot more players fit and not in this position that we're in at the moment but we have to face the reality of what comes along in football," he added.

"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 game is and the underdogs that we are, we believe that we can get there and believe that we can get to Wembley.

"With a bit of luck, a bit of fortune and the right amount of organisation, desire and commitment from the players we feel as though we can give it our best shot.

"We don't have the same pressure we experience in the Premier League that is for certain. It is a competition where we know at this time it is over two legs, in the earlier stages you say 'it is either win or we are out'."

West Ham's co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold issued an open letter to fans on Monday confirming their support for Allardyce, who was happy to receive the backing.

"I'm obviously pleased by the united front we are trying to keep under these difficult times at the moment," he said.

"When it comes public from the co-chairmen it is nice to see and hear. From our point of view we are all understanding the difficult position we are in at the moment.

"We all have to work through it together in the hope that we turn it around into a positive reaction in terms of our results."

Roger Johnson, signed on loan from Wolves for the remainder of the season, will go straight into the squad which travels to Manchester as the 30-year-old adds much-needed strength to Allardyce's defence.

"The one big thing about Roger is his Premier League experience at Birmingham City," he said.

"His height, which has been a weak point for us recently, and a desire to come and show he has still got the capabilities of coming to play at this level.

"He is not cup-tied, so going into one of the biggest games of the season for us with someone with his experience against one of the biggest sides in the Premier League is a help.

"If you look across the board at Man City, aerially we have to be very competent and Roger will be a great help in that area particularly.

"He is very determined and excited about the opportunity he has got after being basically frozen out at Wolves."

Allardyce confirmed club-record signing Andy Carroll is closing in on a long-awaited return to action but will not be ready for Manchester City.

Skipper Kevin Nolan is suspended with James Tomkins, Winston Reid, James Collins and Ricardo Vaz Te also absent.

Allardyce is hopeful Mark Noble may have recovered from a calf injury to play some part in the tie

"Andy is training today," Allardyce confirmed.

"Hopefully we'll see him on the bench in the next week or so. Mark Noble is the biggest chance we have got to recover and be able to play tomorrow which would be a bonus for us."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own