Sam Allardyce was delighted after his side's superb defensive display earned a hard-fought goalless draw at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

The result was all the more pleasing considering the skeletal squad Big Sam had to choose from ahead of the game, which forced him to name just six out of a possible seven substitutes on the bench. That said, those that were fit and available more than made up for their missing team-mates with a performance boasting teamwork, endeavour and commitment.

"We really earned our point. You know when you've got that many injuries you're always worried as a manager because you wonder whether you're team's going to be able or capable of holding out.

"Certainly based on that performance and the way they defended I was happy. We didn't create as much as we wanted and we tried as hard as we could to do that but our defensive qualities were exceptionally good.

"That frustrated West Bromwich and limited them to little or no clear-cut chances. So the players take great credit for how well they've snuffed out their attack."

In addition to delivering a point against the high-flying Baggies, Big Sam provided a further festive boost by confirming Jack Collison is set to make his long-awaited comeback from injury for the Development Squad on Monday afternoon. Along with the near-fit Alou Diarra, he is one long-term injury that the West Ham medical staff can hopefully tick off their books soon, although George McCartney's knee injury could keep him out for some time.

"You could probably say we had seven injuries because we haven't seen Alou Diarra since he joined us because he tore a thigh muscle. So it's difficult to know how good he's going to be for us because he's been out for a long time - probably ten to twelve weeks now.

"That, on top of the other six, made it very difficult for us to go to West Brom. That's why we only had six subs on the bench. We only had two really recognised players who have played any part in Modibo Maiga and James Tomkins, who we put on at the end. The rest of the lads are Development Squad players."

As expected, the absence of so many first teamers led the assembled press to question whether Allardyce was working with the Joint-Chairmen to identify targets for the upcoming January window. Although he admitted there were a few names under consideration, he insisted that task was not as important as getting the players he currently has at his disposal fighting fit again.

"If there's anybody there who can enhance or better the team then we would like to go for them. Whether that's short-term, long-term, it depends when the window opens who is actually available and who we can to get to come in.

"But the main priority for us is to get the players back. Look at how many flair players were missing - Yossi Benayoun, Andy Carroll, Ricardo Vaz Te, Jack Collison and Mo Diame. They are our players who, in possession, can create lots and lots of problems. We had a good day but not good as it could be because of the injuries."

Injuries aside, Big Sam concluded that his side can be proud of what they achieved on Sunday as he looks ahead with optimism to the busy Christmas fixture list. There are less than 150 tickets left for Saturday's first fixture with Everton, where Under-16s can get in for just £1. To secure your seat today, click here.

"I'm really relieved we got a point. I have to say the lads did a great job coping. Getting through the holiday period in December is always difficult for us all.

"But if the lads keep up the way they play, we know we're capable of winning when we play to our best. We're 17 games in and we've produced some great, great results this season so we know we're capable now."

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