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2013-02-22T10:28:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:15:38

Big Sam on: Tottenham Hotspur

Sam Allardyce faces the luxury of a selection headache on Monday night against Tottenham Hotspur after Joey O'Brien and James Collins returned to training this week.

The boss has an almost-fully fit squad, although he wishes that was the case in December and January when the Hammers faced a heavy schedule of fixtures.

But for now, he is pleased to have as many options as possible with the top-four chasing Spurs visiting the Boleyn Ground.

Sam, can we start with the team news for Monday?

SA - "This morning Joey O'Brien has joined in after being substituted at Aston Villa, so we're hoping his leg is OK. James Collins has been in training for the last few days to come back ready and be selected in the squad. George McCartney is training with the first team squad today for the first time since his injury about ten weeks ago, so the squad is looking fit and strong. Selection processes are what a manager needs and it gives us a good, broad base of squad members in strength in depth to select from moving forward in the last third of the season.

"Our difficulty is that coming into March we've only got three games in the month. It's going to be a big period to actually manage the players without really enough games. We had too many games in December and January and now because of circumstances with Manchester United beating Reading and an international break as well, we've not got enough in March. We've got a big squad fully fit, but only three matches for them to compete in.

"We'll keep on top of the players' fitness and make sure we're ready for every game because with such long periods [between games] keeping the players focused and concentrated is one of the difficulties. We'll look at the week-to-week management of the players and decide what we want to do. More importantly, we have to keep them fit and keep them all ready for selection."

What have you made of Tottenham of late and in particular Gareth Bale?

SA - "They've been very good. The team from an attacking point of view has been outstanding, Recently they've lost their leading goalscorer, who is Jermain Defoe, and Adebayor has been away at the Africa Cup of Nations, so from a goalscoring point of view they've had to rely on one man and one man only to come up with the goods. That's Gareth Bale and he's been the major difference between Tottenham and the teams they've played recently.

"Not only has he scored very important goals, but they've been stunning goals at that. He's going to need some looking after on Monday night. If we can do that we nullify a threat that Tottenham have. Of course [Aaron] Lennon is a threat down the other side, but he doesn't quite score as many goals as Gareth Bale. We're not sure yet whether Jermain Defoe will be fit, but certainly we've got to cope with that strike force.

"Our home form has been excellent all season and so we're going to hopefully make sure Tottenham worry about us for a long period of time on Monday night, rather than us worry about them too much."

The Bobby Moore tributes on Monday night - how important will they be for the fans and the club?

SA - "Hopefully we can win the game and that would be the best thing that could happen to celebrate Bobby Moore. He was a magnificent influence in the world of football - not only at West Ham. I was very fortunate to play against him in his days at Fulham and I can remember him distinctly as an outstanding footballer. I think I was 18 at the time, breaking into first team football at Bolton, and we were playing in the Second Division trying to get into the First. Fulham had Moore, Mullery, Best and Marsh and we still beat them!"

How impressed have you been with Winston Reid this season?

SA - "In Winston's short period of time with me, he's developed really well in terms of his consistent level of performance and how he's learnt to do his job as a defender first and as a footballer second. We lose sight of good defenders today - I think the Barclays Premier League is as exciting as it is because defenders aren't as good as they used to be in my opinion. Not in Winston's case though, he's come out to be one of the most productive and consistent defenders in the Premier League for me. He's been an outstanding figure for us this season.

"It's taken him to a new level. His first year in the Premier League was a difficult one, he learnt an awful lot in the Championship last year and has carried that forward into the Premier League. I've been really pleased with his development."

He's worn the armband recently. Do you see him as possibly a future captain?

SA - "Perhaps, but I think if there's going to be another captain at the club at the moment that would be Mark Noble. He's grown as a footballer and he's West Ham through and through. Eventually, if anything happened to Kevin [Nolan] he would be the man, but Winston has grown and might be captain material.

How's Wellington Paulista getting on?

SA - "He's scoring a few goals in the Under-21s Developement Team. Hopefully sooner or later we can get him introduced into the first team squad. Back in December I only had one striker, Carlton Cole, today I've got five - Maiga, Carroll, Cole, Paulista and Chamakh. I've got plenty of numbers to work with which is great competition for places. That makes it a little bit harder for him to get in, but of course if he continues to score for the U21s we'll look at him at some stage."

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