Sam Allardyce is hoping for some good fortune this week as his West Ham United side look to return to action with a Barclays Premier League victory over Southampton on Saturday.

Big Sam is hoping to see his international stars from around the globe return in one piece, with Andy Carroll, Modibo Maiga, Mohamed Diame, Guy Demel and Winston Reid all away with their respective nations. Despite serious crowd trouble at Senegal's match with the Ivory Coast on Saturday, Demel and Diame are safely on their way back to east London and will re-join their club-mates, who were put through some tough double training sessions at Chadwell Heath last week.

"The first thing is looking at the international lads in the hope that they come back and are not injured," said the manager. "We need to bounce back from a disappointing result but a very gutsy performance and then get back on the victory trail at home.

"Southampton have not had the best of starts and have had some difficult games and have been conceding a number of goals and we've got to try and take advantage of that."

Although West Ham have enjoyed the best start of the three newly-promoted teams, with eleven points from seven games, an experienced manager like Allardyce knows one should not read too much into the Barclays Premier League table at this early stage. A Hammers win at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday, though, would open up a ten-point gap between the Hammers and their fellow new boys.

"From our point of view we'd like to beat them on the basis that we have both been promoted and we both know how much of a struggle it is in year one. If you can pick up points from teams of similar standing to you then you take three points and they don't get any points.

"It's almost a six-pointer this early in the season. If we win, they'd only have four points and we'd have 14 and that's a massive gap that they'd have to try and close over the coming games."

The Saints, though, will take heart from last season's npower Championship campaign, where they remained unbeaten against the Hammers by winning 1-0 at home a year ago and drawing 1-1 at the Boleyn Ground in February.

"They've had some hard fixtures and they beat us away and then drew with us at Upton Park so they will be thinking that it is a good chance for them to come and get some points so we've got to try to stop that."

The last few tickets for Saturday's game are quickly being snapped up and with seats for the visit of Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City on 3 November already in high demand, the manager has reiterated the important part Hammers fans have played in his side's solid start to the season.

"We've played some good football and played one of the big boys and even though we lost the fans were right behind us until the end. It gives us a good platform to beat the opposition. It intimidates the opposition and it is hugely supportive for us. That can help to give us that extra drive to get the positive result."

*whufc.com will carrying a further update on Ricardo Vaz Te's injury on Tuesday.

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