Sam Allardyce bemoans lack of West Ham United fixtures

 

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has bucked the trend set by a number of his Barclays Premier League counterparts by bemoaning his side's lack of matches in the coming weeks.

Fixture congestion is usually a major concern for Premier League bosses at this stage of the season but Allardyce is rueful of the fact the Hammers are only likely to play three games in March.

Their home game against Manchester United, originally pencilled in for March 9, has been postponed due to United's continued progress in the FA Cup.

Allardyce has an almost fully-fit squad to choose from but reckons he cannot give enough game time to those individuals requiring a little bit of match sharpness due to the shortage of fixtures, which is compounded by an international break.

"Selection processes are what a manager needs and it gives us a good, broad base of squad members in strength in depth to select from moving forward in the last third of the season," he said.

"Our difficulty is that coming into March we've only got three games in the month. It's going to be a big period to actually manage the players without really enough games.

"We had too many games in December and January and now because of circumstances with Manchester United beating Reading and an international break as well, we've not got enough in March.

"We've got a big squad fully fit, but only three matches for them to compete in.

"We'll keep on top of the players' fitness and make sure we're ready for every game because with such long periods [between games] keeping the players focused and concentrated is one of the difficulties.

"We'll look at the week-to-week management of the players and decide what we want to do. More importantly, we have to keep them fit and keep them all ready for selection."

Allardyce was bullish in his reply to further questions regarding his future at Upton Park.

The 58-year-old, as well as the club's co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan, have stressed his contract - which expires at the end of the season - will be prioritised once top-flight survival has been assured.

When the subject was broached to Allardyce he said: "It's a bit of an old hat story because we've been talking about it for such a long time.

"You haven't been talking about David Moyes in the same context. His contract is up at Everton this year and it doesn't look like there has been any negotiations.

"I've clearly explained to everybody several times this is a both parties agreement. Both parties will sort it out privately and confidentially when the time is right."

Allardyce was critical of a small minority of West Ham fans who chanted anti-Semitic songs during the 3-1 defeat at White Hart Lane in November but remains hopeful the situation will not reoccur on Monday night.

"I hope there's nothing untoward that happens in terms of chanting," he said.

"Like everybody else we want to try to reduce it to its bare minimum. We'd like to cut it out completely but I don't think that's ever going to be the case when people get involved in emotional situations.

"But if we spot it we've got to deal with it and hopefully there won't be any."

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