Sam Allardyce has held his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League visit of champions Manchester City to the Boleyn Ground.

The West Ham United manager discussed a wide range of topics, including his own squad, Roberto Mancini and his City side and the importance of both Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan to the Hammers' cause.

If you would rather watch Big Sam's press conference on West Ham TV, click here.

Can you begin by giving us a quick update on the players who are currently on the treatment table?

SA: "They are not very close to a return. Guy Demel has had a smallish hernia operation that we hope will keep him out no longer than a few weeks. Ricardo Vaz Te is of course recovering from his shoulder injury and Matthew Taylor is having a few problems with his thigh. Joey O'Brien is fit again and Jack Collison is moving ever closer to a return to training but we cannot put a time on his return because of how long it has taken to get to this stage."

You play champions Manchester City on Saturday. Is there more of an element of enjoyment when it comes to playing the top teams because the pressure is not on you to get a result?

SA: "I think so because these are the easier games to say to the players 'Go out, relax and enjoy yourselves out there'. If anything you have to demotivate them because they are so hyper for it and they want to prove themselves against world-class opposition. Manchester City have to live with that. They won the Barclays Premier League for the first time in many years last season and their reputation has grown. Every player and team who they come up against will want to beat them a little bit more and hopefully our players take up that attitude on Saturday."

Is it the same for you? Do you look to test yourselves against the top teams because beating them is a big achievement?

SA: "I do not think so, maybe in the past but not now. I have got a lot of experience in the Barclays Premier League but I will be hugely satisfied if we get a positive result against a top club."

Do you think that expectation has been a factor in City's form so far this season?

SA: "I do not know. They say it is hard to win it but even harder to retain it and I think that is probably true. That may be something that they are coming across because it was a huge effort last year to win it but they are the champions now and everybody wants to knock them off their perch. It will be hard for them but they need to live with that and it is something they deserve to live with after the way they won it last season."

Can you understand the pressure that Roberto Mancini is under considering their start in all competitions and does it affect the players?

SA: "I think that [Southampton manager] Nigel Adkins and [Reading boss] Brian McDermott are under more pressure than Roberto Mancini. Only Roberto can answer whether or not it is affecting the players because he is the one who works with them on a day to day basis."

Manchester City have a host of options available to them going forward and at the back but some players have been outspoken about this situation. Is that something you have ever come across?

SA: "It happens everywhere, even here. Players can come into the dressing room and moan that they are not playing and that they are not getting picked but that happens at every club. Some players speak out about it publicly, which they should not do because they should keep it as an internal matter, but that is the way it is today. If they do not talk about it, they will talk to their agents about it and they will leak it out so we have to deal with it and deal with each individual incident as it comes then move on."

Are you encouraged by the fact that City do not currently have a settled system?

SA: "We will have to wait and see on Saturday because if we come off the field and we have got a result I will be very encouraged. I cannot be too worried about what is happening behind the scenes at Manchester City because my job is to pick a team to play against the quality they have got. Hopefully we can ensure that we can deal with that and when we do the get the opportunities to test their back four we need to do just that. You need a lot of quality against a back four of that stature and of course they have one of the best goalkeepers in the world."

Manchester City's defence does not look as strong as it did last season so is that something Andy Carroll can exploit?

SA: "I think it all depends of who Roberto Mancini selects to play against Andy on Saturday evening. It could be a number of different combinations and we will have a tactic for whichever players take to the field. We probably will not know what system they are going to play until we get the team sheet but we will be ready."

Andy is yet to score for the club but has offered a lot going forward, so has it mattered to you that he is yet to score?

SA: "It does not matter to me who scores, but if Andy can get that goal it would be great because it would be nice for him to get off the mark. It is also not all about Andy's heading ability as he is very good at scoring goals on the floor so we need to keep providing the service and eventually he will start to put it in the net."

Has Andy been frustrated that he is yet to get off the mark and, if so, is it something you have noticed in training?

SA: "It has not affected his attitude at all. He is a little frustrated but he is still learning to read the way his new team-mates play. The more and more he plays with this team, the more chances he will get on the end of. He had a good chance at Wigan on his right foot and in his heyday he would have volleyed it straight away but he tried to bring it down but was unable to control it."

Do you think Andy's frustration will work in his favor and make him even more determined to break his duck?

SA: "No I do not think so because whenever you join a new club you want to get off the mark as quick as you possibly can. What I do think is that he is not just a goalscorer. He has other parts to his game and is an all-round front man, his hold-up play and his movement are just as important as his ability to score goals."

His work-rate has been very good so far but do you expect it to continue even if the goals do not come?

SA: "All the players at this level work very hard and their work-rates are very high. There is no room to carry anybody in football these days, especially at this level. We obviously want the biggest work-rate we can get off Andy both in and out of possession and we want him on top of his game. Service is everything at the end of the day and against Wigan our service was not as good as it has been."

One thing he does seem to have on his side is the fans, who do not seem to be putting any pressure on him to score?

SA: "West Ham United fans love committed players so I think that players who give their all will always be given time. Andy wears his heart on his sleeve and part of his frustration has been the amount of times he is fouled and not got the free-kicks he deserved. He has to understand that it is probably always going to be the case so it is up to him to not get frustrated and keep getting into the right positions. If he keeps showing the same levels of commitment it will pay off for him and for us."

Did you know that Kevin Nolan has scored more goals at home than any other Barclays Premier League player this season?

SA: "Has he really? Good, I hope he scores on Saturday then. I have often spoken about Kevin and how important he is for us so I will not do it anymore because he will get too big-headed! Let's hope he can give a performance we know he can against Manchester City and if he is Kevin Nolan at his best hopefully he can sneak in the box and score a goal."

Do you think that Kevin should have played for a top-four club during his career?

SA: "The teams that he chose to go to were the teams that wanted to employ him for his services, so that is all you can do. You have to play your best and put yourself out there and if whoever fancies you decides that they want you they will come and buy you."

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