RSS

Monthly Archives: March 2012

That Was Not a Slip-Up!

 

Is a draw at Leeds a good result?

Some would say yes considering we were seconds away from defeat.

Others would say no pointing out we`ve slipped even further behind the top two of Southampton and Reading in the race for automatic promotion.

Big Sam though reckons it wasn`t a slip up remarking post match,

“This wasn`t a slip up as far as I`m concerned – we`ve had those at home by drawing too many games just lately.”

“That`s disappointing. And it`s true that too many draws have made us a bit edgy. But we are still confident we can take that final step and win promotion. It`s still in our hands.”

I`m glad you`re confident Sam, I`m starting to panic!

 

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

LUFC Warnock – It was like walking into a bullring

Leeds United boss likened the atmosphere of that of a bullring after seeing the biggest crowd of the season inside Elland Road for the game with West Ham.

Warnock has been asking for the fans to turn out in numbers since his arrival, wanting to see a crowd of 30,000 inside Elland Road.

33,366 attended the game with West Ham, the first club to sell out their allocation since away fans moved into the West stand.

Warnock thought it was a fantastic atmosphere and he likened it to walking out into a bullring. Speaking on LUTV, Warnock said, “I asked for 30,000 and we got more than that. West Ham played their part brining their quota.

“It was just a fantastic atmosphere. It was almost like walking into a bullring, it was an amphitheatre.”

Warnock was left disappointed after seeing Leeds drop two crucial points in the final minute as they try to make a late push for the play-offs and he was disappointed that the fans could not go home completely happy. “It was a fantastic atmosphere being on the bench and everyone should be going home really happy,” added Warnock.

Leeds are back in action at Elland Road on Tuesday night when they face Nottingham Forest.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

West Ham v Watford preview

Taylor: Back from suspension

Taylor: Back from suspension

 

Team news ahead of West Ham’s Championship clash with Watford at Upton Park on Wednesday.

Matt Taylor returns to the West Ham squad for the visit of Watford.

The midfielder has missed the last three matches through suspension after he was sent off in the 1-1 draw with Southampton last month.

Defender Winston Reid could miss out again after he was knocked unconscious playing for New Zealand last week and winger Julien Faubert will be checked over having sat out Sunday’s win at Cardiff with a virus.

Midfielder Papa Bouba Diop is still on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, John Carew is struggling with a knee problem and fellow striker Freddie Piquionne has moved to Doncaster on loan.

Carlton Cole could be handed a start up front after coming off the bench at Cardiff.

Watford will continue to be without long-term injury victims Martin Taylor and Stephen McGinn for their Championship clash with West Ham.

Defender Taylor has a shoulder problem which is preventing him from being a part of manager Sean Dyche’s matchday squad, while midfielder McGinn is still not ready for a first-team return from a knee problem despite playing 45 minutes of a reserve team match last week – his first outing for a year.

Dyche hopes both players will feature for the second string next week as they step up their recoveries.

Midfielder Ross Jenkins, who has been on the periphery of the squad of late, has been ruled out with a groin strain, while Dyche will not be able to call on winger Gavin Massey because of a tooth infection.

Dyche may consider a starting role for on-loan Fulham man Alex Kacaniklic, who impressed off the bench during the 3-2 victory over Burnley on Saturday.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Rovers pounce for Piquionne

Saunders moves to bring in striker

 

Image text hereFrederic Piquionne: Agreed a loan deal to join Doncaster Rovers from West Ham

Sky Sports understands Doncaster Rovers have agreed a deal to sign West Ham striker Frederic Piquionne.

As revealed by skysports.com last month, Rovers were in talks with West Ham about a possible loan deal for the frontman.

Piquionne has agreed a loan deal until the end of the season at the Keepmoat Stadium as he joins the club’s battle for survival in the Championship.

West Ham are willing to loan out the 33-year-old as the former Portsmouth man does not figure in Sam Allardyce’s immediate plans.

Piquionne has found himself out of the picture at Upton Park and the recent arrivals of Ricardo Vaz Te and Nicky Maynard have pushed the Frenchman further down the pecking order.

Doncaster boss Dean Saunders is keen to bolster his attacking options and he has moved to strike a deal for former Portsmouth man Piquionne.

Rovers agent, Willie McKay, has confirmed the club have agreed a deal for Piquionne and the move is a coup for Rovers after the striker snubbed offers from Premier League duo Fulham and Sunderland during the January transfer window.

“I would like to thank Sam Allardyce and David Sullivan for allowing Frederic to come on loan to Doncaster,” Saunders told skysports.com.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Big Sam on: Cardiff City

Big Sam on: Cardiff City

Sam Allardyce is hoping West Ham United can get back to winning at Cardiff City on Sunday
 02.03.2012

Sam Allardyce was in determined mood as he faced the media ahead of Sunday’s npower Championship game with Cardiff City.

The West Ham United manager and his squad returned to Chadwell Heath this morning following a few days of warm weather training in Dubai. A tricky afternoon in Cardiff now awaits, although the Hammers will be boosted by the return of captain Kevin Nolan from suspension.

Firstly how was the warm weather training in Dubai?

I think getting a bit of sunshine in at this time of the year is always very important for the squad in order to prepare them for the final end of season push. Being a manager who, for the last ten years, has always been an advocate of a winter break I’ve always made sure that whatever club I’ve been at I’ve always found the time to give the lads a little break both physically and mentally from the stresses and strains of playing football. Hopefully it will get them ready for the final push and the big 14 games we have left in our season so that we can achieve our goal of promotion.

Next game is Cardiff; they took Liverpool to extra-time in the Carling Cup on Sunday evening. What are you expecting at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday?

It was obviously a massive effort by the Cardiff players to take Liverpool to extra time and I’m sure they’ll be very disappointed they lost in the manner that they did. It was a valiant effort by Malky and his players so there may be a hangover from that. It will depend on what the management staff have done with the players this week; whether they are still hungry or not to achieve what was their main goal at the beginning of the season – promotion. They are still in a very good position to achieve that so it’s expected from my point of view to be one of the most difficult away games we will face this season even after their disappointing defeat last week.

Cardiff won 1-0 at the Boleyn Ground on the opening day of the season. Just like West Ham, they have kept that momentum going all season haven’t they?

Yes they’ve been there or there abouts all season just like us. When you’re in for the long haul, right from the start of the season, then you want to maintain it and finish the job off. That’s the main reason we took the warm weather break, to keep the minds and the legs of the squad fresh. If we can find any weakness or tiredness in Cardiff as a result of their Carling Cup exploits then hopefully we can capitalise on that.

Both teams are going to be fired up for this game; even though it’s an early kick-off on a Sunday I’m sure we will have our usual fantastic away support tripping down to Cardiff with us. We want to deliver a similar performance to the one away at Blackpool but with eleven men and not ten. Blackpool was our best performance of the season, even when we went down to ten men. Let’s hope we can achieve that type of performance once again away from home and if we can then we will make ourselves very difficult to beat.

Kevin Nolan is back from suspension, what difference do you think this will make to West Ham?

I hope it will have a positive impact. It’s fair to say we haven’t missed him results-wise which is a great achievement for everyone else in the squad. We have had some real trauma to deal with since Kevin’s red against Millwall but we have maintained an unbeaten run under extraordinary circumstances. It’s good to have him back and if there is one thing I would love for him to do is to get back in amongst the goals.

We want to see him getting into the box again and scoring the goals we know he can because that has been one area in which we’ve lacked in the games he has missed. Against Crystal Palace, after achieving such great goalscoring form against Blackpool, we couldn’t find the same against Palace and that was a great disappointment. Kevin gives us firepower in front of goal as well as the other strikers we have at the club.

In terms of goals, Henri Lansbury scored two great goals for the England Under-21s on Wednesday evening didn’t he?

Yes, from a goalkeeper keeping a clean sheet to goal hero for the Under-21s! It’s a measure of Henri’s good attitude and it will give him a lot of confidence playing for the Under-21s and scoring two goals. Hopefully when he plays for us again he can show the same sort of scoring form. He will certainly be playing for us in the very near future, if not at Cardiff, due to the heavy schedule we have to deal with in March.

Portsmouth are in a lot of trouble at the moment financially and may not be able to fulfil their fixtures. This could lead to West Ham being deducted the six points they have gained from Portsmouth this season. What impact do you think that could have on the race for promotion?

Massive. It’s a very concerning situation when you’re in a position like ours. When you have worked so hard all season and then by default you may lose out on what you should actually get, I think is totally unfair. The Football League generates enough revenue to make sure all clubs should be able to fulfil all fixtures. We shouldn’t let this deduction happen, not just for the sake of this football club but for football in this country.

If it did happen, other clubs around the top, Southampton, Birmingham and Reading, have only played Portsmouth once meaning West Ham stand to lose more points than their rivals?

That’s the unfairness of it all, you work so hard during the season and Portsmouth isn’t an easy place to go. To get a victory there was a big result for us so to have those ripped away from us would be devastating. If you’re going to lose out on promotion you need to do it by your own failings not by somebody else taking it away from you.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Is Captain Kev still the right man for Big Sam at West Ham?

 

As the race for promotion enters its final phase, the last the two months will provide stern tests for all involved in the Championship shake-up. This weekend provides Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United with a daunting trip to face heroic Carling Cup finalists Cardiff City.

Allardyce’s troops, with one defeat in eight, have recovered from their catastrophic defeat away at Ipswich Town with a good deal of praise, showing undeniable character in matches against Millwall, Southampton and Blackpool where they were reduced to ten men. The Hammers ability to stay unbeaten in those matches, gaining seven points out of nine, has given the side renewed vigour and confidence as they enter the crucial final period of the season. New January signings Nicky Maynard and Ricardo Vaz Te have bedded into side well registering goals in the process, whilst Hammers fans wait with baited breath for the introduction of Ravel Morrison.

Unfortunately, the 0-0 draw with London rivals Crystal Palace did not live up to the performances of the previous three matches and high expectations of the Upton Park faithful; however, it was clear to see the effects of previous exertions as the team’s fatigue showed.

Allardyce and his side came in for unfair criticism after the draw which leaves them in a strong position – 2nd in the table a point behind, and with a game in hand over, leaders Southampton. Big Sam’s ability to instil a strong resolve within his side is an attribute that is clearly evident and cannot be under estimated. Over the past few years, the Hammers have struggled under previous regimes to establish a winning mentality that ultimately brings success. The early season results highlighted the difficult transition period as the Hammers conceded costly last minute goals at home to Leeds United, Ipswich Town and Sunday’s opponents Cardiff. However, under the tutelage of Big Sam, an effective winning brand of football has been established, though the latter continuously, and tediously, remains one poor result from the accusations of ‘long-ball football’.

Instead, what is true of Allardyce is that he has transformed West Ham into a side that bears few characteristics to the one that left the Premier League last year. The Hammers, under Big Sam, are a strong, organised and hard-working unit that produce a style of football that is not exactly to the Arsenal “Invincibles” standard of 2003/04 but hardly the Wimbledon style of the 1980s either.

Indeed in recent weeks the Hammers have proven the stereotypes of Allardyce’s style of football as false, producing a string of stylish performances collecting positive results on the way. Impressively, West Ham boast the league’s best away record, collecting 30 points on their travels, a complete transformation from a side that claimed only three away wins in the previous two seasons. This stat is one few fans would have dreamed of after the past years of dire away showings.

Sunday’s lunchtime visit to the Cardiff City Stadium will provide the Irons with the chance to continue their great away form and not only avenge their opening day defeat but highlight their Premier League credentials. Yet City’s strong home form has provided the basis of their promotion push and Carling Cup run defeating leaders Southampton and Premier League Blackburn Rovers in the process. The distraction of the Carling Cup final as seen the Bluebirds slip away in previous weeks and makes Sunday’s crunch game crucial for both sides.

Allardyce, who has taken away his squad to warmer climates this week, is left with the dilemma of whether to bring captain Kevin Nolan back into his recently undefeated side. Arguably, the Irons have performed better without their major summer signing, who is yet to rediscover the form he produced last season at Newcastle United. Nolan’s suspension, attributed to the red card he received against Millwall, has resulted in the upturn in form of stand-in captain Mark Noble who has produced a number of virtuoso performances in his absence.

Nevertheless, Nolan has shown the ability to be a priceless match winner on a number of occasions in scoring single goal winners against Brighton and Hove Albion, Coventry City and Doncaster Rovers. This ability was sorely missed in the home match against Palace and this is sure to encourage Big Sam to reintroduce his Captain back into the fold.

Big Sam has often deployed Nolan behind a lone front man away from Upton Park and the number 4 has justified this selection on a number of occasions producing his best form away from the home faithful. In fact of the seven goals Nolan has scored for the Irons this season, four have been scored away securing crucial victories.

Nolan has previously shown the ability to be a catalyst for success emphasised during his periods at Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle, where he achieved promotion to the Premier League with both clubs. Big Sam will clearly been keen to see his captain recapture this form, as the next few weeks will provide Nolan with the opportunity to demonstrate his unquestionable ability in testing high profiled fixtures. If Nolan is to regain the form that saw him score 12 Premier League goals last term, West Ham and Big Sam will surely be toasting a promotion if not a Championship winning side at the end of April.

The hectic run-in for West Ham, which will begin in South Wales on Sunday, also sees them visit Leeds United and Leicester City as well as entertain promotion hopefuls Reading, Birmingham City and Middlesbrough.

Allardyce and Hammers fans will look to their big named players such as Nolan to perform to their maximum in order to remain on course for a swift return to the top division. This pressure will only be increased if promotion rivals Southampton, Reading, and Blackpool and Birmingham gain victories before their clash on Sunday.

However, if victory is achieved in South Wales on Sunday, West Ham will take a giant step towards a return to the Premier League and inflict serious damage to Cardiff’s chances of achieving automatic promotion. Big Sam will be hoping, as all Hammers fans, that the return of captain Kev this Sunday will be the tonic for achieving their tenth victory on the road.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized