Sam Allardyce hosted his weekly press conference at Chadwell Heath on Friday morning, where he looked ahead to Sunday's trip to West Bromwich Albion.
The West Ham United manager will be coming up against two familiar faces in the opposing dugout, with former assistant manager Steve Clarke now manager at The Hawthorns. Former Hammer Kevin Keeen has taken the role of assistant manager at the West Midlands outfit and the duo have made an impressive start to life with The Baggies so far.
West Bromwich Albion have lost three Barclays Premier League matches on the trot. Does that statistic mean this is a good time to play them?
SA - "I think they are still playing well and competing very well. I saw how unfortunate they were to lose at Arsenal last week. Only two very poor refereeing decisions cost them the game so they may well have got something against Arsenal. At this moment in time, they are still playing very well but results have not matched the performances they have given. Their home form has been very good this year. Three defeats on the trot may put a little bit of doubt in their players and if that's the case we have to try and exploit that. We have our own problems with injuries so we have to rely on the players we have available to give their best again like they did against Liverpool and I hope that will be enough to get us a result at West Brom."
The table is incredibly tight, so presumably the Christmas and New Year period will be crucial?
SA - "If you can pick up a couple of wins back-to-back or get a few points in the bag you can climb the table. You saw recently with Stoke, who had not won away from home and had drawn a lot of their games, all of a sudden they strung two or three wins together and they are back at the top end of the Premier League. Sticking a few wins together is where you want to be over Christmas because it sends you into the New Year in a relatively comfortable position - particularly in our first year back in the Premier League. Hopefully we can overcome our injury crisis and can continue to pick up the results we've been getting this season."
Are you planning to try to turn Yossi Benayoun's loan into a permanent transfer from Chelsea in January?
SA - "My only concern with Yossi at the moment is to try and get him fit - that's our big problem. He broke down in training last week after we thought he would be OK and he's back with Chelsea at the moment trying to recover from that injury. We would obviously make any decision on his future in January as is stipulated in his loan agreement."
There have been reports that Frederic Piquionne wants to move away from the club. Would you be happy to allow that?
SA - "Yes. Freddie has been available all season to be released."
Will there be funds available for you to strengthen the squad in January?
SA - "We will be trying to buy some players and those players will be determined on what we want to do and then we'll try to make the moves happen. Like anything else in that window, it's a hard window to deal with and it becomes very disruptive for everybody, but we've got to try to do our best to try to strengthen the squad where we can."
What is latest news on Jack Collison?
SA - "He is training but not available for selection. He's looking OK but he's been out of the game since the end of last season's Play-Off final so it will be at least two weeks before we should consider him, unless we become absolutely desperate on the injury-front - and it does look a little bit like that. I want to try to resist at all costs throwing Jack into the fray and risk another injury, but I make have to do that."
Do you have anybody else nearing a comeback?
SA - "No. We picked up another injury this week with George McCartney so we're not sure if he's going to make Sunday's game either, which unfortunately leaves us very light on numbers."