Sam Allardyce preparing West Ham for all play-off eventualities

 

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has left no stone unturned as he attempts to guide the club back to the Barclays Premier League via the play-offs.

The Hammers were pipped to automatic promotion by Southampton on the final day of the season and will now have to get back to the top flight the hard way, starting with a semi-final first leg in Cardiff tonight.

And Allardyce's assistant Neil McDonald says the former Bolton manager has quickly got over the disappointment of missing out on the top two.

"He's been exactly the same as he's always been, on the training ground every day as usual, he's been fantastic," said McDonald.

"I don't think we could have a better man in charge for this. He's so calm, so detailed, there is nothing we haven't looked at, we are ready for everything.

"We don't just have a plan A, we have a plan B and a plan C. If we have to do something we have never done before we will do it.

"He is ready for anything. That's what makes him so good, so experienced, and that's why he has been a manager for a long time."

The Hammers have made it to three finals, two play-offs and once in the FA Cup, in the last eight years.

But they were all played at the Millennium Stadium so the club have not actually been to Wembley since Trevor Brooking, Billy Bonds and Co were beaten by Liverpool in the 1981 League Cup final.

Their fans will be eyeing a long overdue trip to the national stadium, but for West Ham's players there will be no time for a spot of sightseeing.

"Some teams will see it as a day out but it's business for us, we have a job to do," added McDonald.

"If we are fortunate enough to get through it won't be a day out for the players, that's for sure, it will be business as usual and just classed as another away game.

"We'll look forward to the day when we can talk about the final, but we have two very difficult games first."

PA

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