Sam Allardyce has set out a clear goal for West Ham United's remaining away games this season - to find the back of the net more frequently.

The Hammers have been impressive at home this season and have amassed an impressive five wins and three draws from their eleven games at the Boleyn Ground thus far. It has been a different story on the road, though, where they have found the going considerably harder than last season's club-record tally of 14 away wins. Saturday's 3-0 loss at Sunderland only highlighted the manager's demands for an improvement going forward.

"We were woefully short in terms of what we're looking for in an attacking sense away from home," Allardyce said. "Even when it looked like we wouldn't get anything out of the game, we did create some chances but we couldn't find the back of the net and they got the third and thoroughly deserved their win.

"We made life very easy for Sunderland and I don't think they've enjoyed an easier game than that at home all season and they thoroughly deserved to beat us."

The Hammers will be offered the perfect chance to right the wrongs of the Stadium of Light in Wednesday night's high-profile FA Cup third-round replay with Manchester United at Old Trafford. While the game has players and fans alike buzzing with excitement, with just 150 away tickets left, Big Sam wants his players keep their focus on what the ultimate goal is this season as soon the final whistle is blown on Wednesday.

"While Manchester United is the glory of the cup competition and it will be fantastic to go to Old Trafford, QPR next Saturday is out bread and butter and we must make sure we secure three points against them.

"They are in the bottom two of the league and we have already lost to Reading, who were in the bottom two when we played them. We can't keep losing to the people below us who are struggling as it gets them closer and we don't want that."

Although there were positives on Saturday in the shape of Alou Diarra and Dan Potts' first Barclays Premier League starts and the return of the influential Mo Diame to the substitutes' bench, the first-half hamstring injury to James Collins has provided his manager with a defensive headache. While Joey O'Brien and George McCartney are progressing well, their urgency of need for cover will lead Big Sam to redouble his efforts to bring in reinforcements during the transfer window.

"James Collins pulled up with a hamstring injury, which is a bitter blow to us. We just felt like we were recovering from a spate of six or seven injuries and suspensions so it's a real pity. We've still also got Joey O'Brien out and George McCartney, who is out for a long period of time.

"We want to improve the strength of the squad. I'd like to add a defender as we've now only got two centre halves left in James Tomkins and Winston Reid and aside from young Dan Potts, we've got no other left-back in the squad. I have been looking for a left-back for the last ten days or so, but now I need a left-back that can play centre-half or vice versa.

"We don't want the injuries all in one area so we might need to take a look at the market and see if there's anyone that can help us in that department."

Joe Cole and Marouane Chamakh both got their first taste of Premier League action in claret and blue since signing for the club last week, with Cole in particular showing some nice touches. Media reports at the weekend claimed Cole's namesake Carlton was told he could leave the club, a claim his manager laughed off by saying it was news to him.

"I would have like Chamakh to have scored as he had a couple of chances from headers and that's what he thrives on. I think we can provide that for him. He's been short of first-team football so the more he gets the better he will get.

"It's the same with Joe Cole and Alou Diarra. Hopefully they'll all get better.

"I saw the news reports from the weekend and all I can say is that I haven't told Carlton he can leave so I don't know who has!" he joked.

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