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2013-02-08T10:52:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:19:56

Big Sam on: Aston Villa

Sam Allardyce is looking for an end to the Hammers' 'Jekyll and Hyde' form when they travel to Aston Villa on Sunday.

West Ham have produced the goods at the Boleyn Ground all season but have only picked up eight of their 30 points on the road and the boss says that has to change.

Big Sam believes the first goal at Villa Park could prove to be crucial so he will be looking for a strong start from his side.

Sam, have you noticed more of a spring in the step in training this week, more confidence?

SA - "Everyone's fit and well and everyone's looking forward to the Villa game. Everyone knows the responsibility of turning around our away results - they must get better and we've got a fantastic opportunity to change the results we've had recently away from home on Sunday, given that we had a big boost in confidence with a well deserved win against Swansea last week."

It's one point from 21 away from home, can you put your finger on why you've struggled away?

SA - "Not scoring at the right time mostly. The fact of the matter is that we've always had opportunities to score, but when we've failed to take them we've allowed the opposition to take advantage by scoring themselves. We then haven't managed to retrieve that position. It's always a difficult task to win a game of football when you go a goal down and much more difficult still when you're away from home. It's rare as a side playing in the Premier League for the first season to turn around a result when you lose the first goal. It can be done but it's rare. We have to focus on keeping on a level playing field with Aston Villa and we have to try to be the team that scores the first goal."

Conversely you're playing a side on Sunday that's really struggled at home, so are they there for the taking?

SA - "I think they're up and at you, and there's nothing wrong with the effort and the will to try and win at Aston Villa. I think what has cost them on occasion is perhaps a lapse of concentration at certain times probably due to the inexperience of the team. You can see that Paul [Lambert} has introduced more experienced players again now. Agbonlahor, Ireland, players like that, so it is a mixture of both now but if we can take advantage of anything that is a weakness we'll try to do that. For us, it's an opportunity to get a result and try to get some points on the board away from home after what was a very good win and a very good performance against Swansea. We are Jekyll and Hyde, there's no doubt about it. It does niggle me that we can't quite find the same type of form away from home that we've been producing all season at home."

You say you're a bit Jekyll and Hyde and the same can be said of Villa. A team who can beat Liverpool 3-1 and nearly beat Everton last weekend, but lose to Bradford City and Millwall.

SA - "The danger of Aston Villa is that if we allow them to get 3-1 up, I don't think we'll come back from that. We can't afford that. Having the lowest goalscoring ratio away from home in the Premier League is why we haven't picked the results up. We can ill afford to let Aston Villa get off the the sort of start they did against Everton. We've got to avoid that at all costs and play our way into the game, making sure we don't give them any opportunities to score. If we can do that and then start to create the chances we always get - and put one or two in the back of the net - that's what we're looking for."

How big a threat is Christian Benteke going to be?

SA - "He's the biggest threat. He's the man who scores the goals for Aston Villa on a regular basis, he's the focal point for their attacks in that he not only scores goals, but he holds the ball up, he's strong. He's had a fantastic start in what must have been a very disappointing season so far for Aston Villa. It says a lot for what he is as a player when he's producing what he is in a team that's been struggling for results."

Sam, could you tell us injury or team news?

SA - "Our international players are all back fit and well, which is good news for us. From an injury point of view, James Collins and George McCartney are the only two players who are missing out of our squad at the moment, which is good news for us at this stage of the season. Emanuel Pogatetz was away but only in Wales, Mo Diame played in Paris and only played 45 minutes, so nobody's had a long journey. Playing on the Sunday too we've had an extra day's rest so we've got no problems from that point of view."

People have been praising Andy Carroll after his performance against Swansea weekend.

SA - "I would say that he was a lot better than we all expected. I expected him to be a bit rusty maybe, a bit off the pace, but still a very poignant figure in our attack. But he was even better than that, which is why I left him on for 90 minutes. Not only did he play very well, but his fitness looked very, very good as well. He's set a standard to hit and hopefully improve on over the next few weeks and over the rest of the season."

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