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2012-10-25T11:31:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:45:40

Big Sam on Wigan Athletic

Sam Allardyce has held his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League visit to Wigan Athletic.

Big Sam revealed the latest team news, injury concerns and his hopes for Saturday's trip to the DW Stadium.

With the Hammers suffering a 4-1 Capital One Cup third-round defeat last time out against Wigan in September, the Hammers will be hoping to avenge that result and earn another three points in the process.

Sam, could you start by giving us the latest team news ahead of Saturday's game?

SA: "We have only got Joey O'Brien back fit from our injury list so we will still have five players out. It is very important for us because we were very short on defenders last week and young Jordan Spence had to play as a substitute in the end. There is obviously a lot of confidence in the team going to Wigan, but we would have liked to have a few more players back fit."

You have had an excellent start to the season, but do you feel that these injuries could derail your season?

SA: "I think that you want your strongest squad available for selection in every game. With no international breaks coming up, the games come thick and fast so those players will be very important for us. The quicker we get them back the better. There is very little we can do about some injuries such as Ricardo Vaz Te's because it is simply a question of time. We have also had a long layoff for Jack Collison, who has missed the entire summer and all of the season so far, so we need to get the likes of Matt Taylor and Guy Demel back as quickly as we can."

Andy Carroll has made a fantastic start to his West Ham United career but is yet to score. Does that play on his or your minds?

SA: "I hope not because it does not play on my mind at all. Strikers always want to get off the mark,so I am sure he has thought about it but the most important thing is to win games of football. In my short time here, getting our strikers to score goals has not been very important because we have not needed them much until now. Modibo Maiga scored a great goal last week, but Carlton Cole and Andy are yet to get off the mark, so hopefully they can step up and score a few goals."

I suppose a positive of that is that you are still winning games and it shows there are goals coming from all areas of your team?

SA: "Yes, of course. We have been spreading them around a bit and I think that we have had good diversity in our goalscorers. Kevin Nolan is our top scorer with four goals, having had an outstanding start to the season, and Mark Noble scored two last week. It is quite ironic, really, because 90 per cent of our goals have been scored in the first half and last week we scored all four in the second half. We have got a chance to go to Wigan and repeat the performance we gave against Queens Park Rangers and if we can do that we will give them a hell of a game on Saturday."

Despite Wigan Athletic being an established Barclays Premier League side, will your side go there confident of winning the game?

SA: "I think that getting three points away from home is a very difficult task in the Barclays Premier League. I suppose you could say it looks a possibility because Wigan have yet to win a game at home this season and we have been playing very well. Every game is difficult and I was very pleased we got out first away win at QPR which followed the draw at Norwich. Any points are a positive and we hope we come away with the win but if we take anything from the game I will be pleased."

You will have had expectations and targets prior to the start of the season but, after such a good start, have they shifted at all?

SA: "No, not really. I think we have had an excellent start but if you look at the next few fixtures after Wigan it is going to be extremely difficult. I do not think the target has shifted but I think what we have got is a nice cushion of points if things get a little bit tight in the next month or so. It is likely it could because of the size of teams we are playing but the cushion we have means we will still be able to stay around mid-table."

Have you been surprised by the start West Ham United have made to the season?

SA: "I have been pleasantly surprised but I think we knew we had to hit the ground running. I am not overly surprised because we worked hard in the summer and completed most our transfer business pretty early. The effort made during the summer by the staff to ensure the players were physically, mentally and tactically ready was excellent. The fixture list was also very kind to us and only Arsenal in our first eight games was a team in the top six. That said we have taken full advantage of that opportunity and the only real disappointment has been the 3-0 defeat to Swansea City."

West Ham United were relegated following their last trip to the DW Stadium, so do you think Saturday will be a mentally tough game for some of the players?

SA: "I am not so sure how many are here still to be honest with you. Looking at the side I think there are only Winston Reid, Mark Noble, James Tomkins and Carlton Cole so I do not think that will be an issue on Saturday. Those players will remember the bitter disappointment of being 2-0 up and losing 3-2 but I do not think it is our make up for that to happen again. We are a very different team now and if we go 2-0 up I believe we can protect that lead."

You held a Disabled Fans' Forum earlier this week. Was that something you enjoyed taking part in?

SA: "Yes, I did, but a couple of the players turned up before me which is always very important too. Like any supporters having a good Q&A session and interacting with them makes them feel appreciated and good about themselves and the club."

There were a few boos at the end of the Capital One Cup third-round defeat by Wigan Athletic, but will this game be a lot different?

SA: "There are a lot of boos after every game you lose but I made eight changes for that game which was obviously too many as a lot of youngsters came in. We deserved to lose but our ability to come back from that has been excellent. Everybody likes a cup run but our fantastic position in the Barclays Premier League has a lot to do with me resting players in the cup competition. Sadly we lost but we have benefited in the long run."

You currently sit seventh in the Barclays Premier League, so do you still see this season as a relegation battle?

SA: "We never saw it as a relegation battle from the start. We were simply focused on finishing as high up the table as we could. The players all know what we have to do to go where we want to go and that is mid-table, so hopefully it happens at the first time of asking. Of course survival is the ultimate but, if we can do better than that in year one, I will be delighted."

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