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2013-01-04T10:32:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:30:02

Big Sam on: Manchester United

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has spoken to the media ahead of Saturday's FA Cup with Budweiser third round tie with Manchester United.

The Hammers welcome the Barclays Premier League leaders to the Boleyn Ground for a sell-out match that will also be screened live on ITV1.

Big Sam also spoke enthusiastically about the signing of England international Joe Cole, who has completed his move back to east London in time to feature in Saturday's tie.

Sam, can you start by talking about the deal to sign Joe Cole from Liverpool?

BS - "It's a good deal for us. I think that somebody as talented as Joe and as enthusiastic about playing football and not all about money, as most transfers seem to be about today, is a pleasure to bring back to the club and give the opportunity he is looking for.

"I think we will give him that and hopefully he will grasp it with both hands and produce some of the outstanding ability and quality that we know he has. If we can extract the best out of him again, then it will be a fantastic signing for us at West Ham United.

"It is somebody who is coming back home to where he started. He realised his dreams here of becoming a footballer and all he talks about is football, so it's great to have secured the deal and really great that he chose us."

What does it say about West Ham United's ambitions to have signed a player like Joe Cole?

BS - "It's nice to have a player who has played 56 times for England. He is just into his thirties so iI hink there is still an awful lot of football left in him. The Barclays Premier League is where it's all at but he hasn't been playing regularly enough since his move to Liverpool.

"It has frustrated him and he feels he needs a break somewhere else to recreate himself and I think we have the back-up services and staff behind the scenes here to help him to do that. I think, for us, it's a great move and hopefully it is for him.

"As long as it all gets done today, he'll be in the starting line-up on Saturday."

What sort of impact can he make and how quickly?

BS - "I hope he does for us tomorrow what he did for Liverpool when he played against us in Devember and that is score a goal. It'll be a tough game for us [against Manchester United] but extra quality in a team when it had possession is important and we know that Joe's main strengths lie in possession and his ability to open teams up and beat individuals.

"Those are key elements and that's what we'll be looking for - give him the ball as much as we can in the opposition half and say 'Go and create for us and go and score some goals'."

How much of a morale boost is it for the club and its fans to have Joe Cole back?

BS - "I would have thought they will be pleased to see one of their own come back. He is from the West Ham Academy and developed under Tony Carr. He spent a bit of time in the first team here before he moved on and it's great to have him back.

"I hope the West Ham fans are applauding him because of the performances he can give for us."

Do you feel he can add to his tally of 56 England caps?

BS - "I don't see why not. If he can recapture his old form and play on a regular basis for us, he is bound to get a bit of interest from Roy Hodgson. I think his main focus first is making sure he plays for West Ham on a regular basis and reproducing the form that we know he can produce."

Is Saturday's FA Cup with Budweiser third-round tie a bit of a bonus because it is a break from the pressure of trying to consolidate in the Barclays Premier League?

BS - "We're not under the same pressure we are under day-in, day-out in the Barclays Premier League, that's for sure. We have a responsibility with a full house and being live on TV that we put the best team out that we can at the moment, which we will do.

"There are a number of problems that we're still suffering from injury-wise. We're grateful that two of our suspended players are back in James Collins and Kevin Nolan, which will help us.

"I'm sure Sir Alex Ferguson will make some changes but it won't really matter in terms of weakening or strengthening their squad because at the moment, whatever changes he makes, they keep winning. Whatever changes he makes, there will be eleven internationals out against us tomorrow.

"it will be a hugely difficult game but one we are pleased to be involved in, even though it is in the third round when we'd perhaps have liked a lesser draw than Manchester United at home. We're excited about it, we can go out and do our very, very best and if we can create an upset that would be a fantastic bonus for us to move on into the next round."


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