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?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent