Sam Allardyce is plotting to spoil Southampton's party, as the Saints go in search of a fourth successive Barclays Premier League win when West Ham United visit St Mary's on Saturday.

The Hammers are bolstered by the return of Andy Carroll, but Big Sam is setting his sights on another sound defensive display, after Sunday's shutout at Anfield.

West Ham's boss is still revelling in the weekend's resolute rearguard action and insists a repeat performance would lay the foundations for a second positive away day in as many weeks.  

Firstly Sam, prospects for Saturday's game, is Andy Carroll fit?

SA: "Andy was always fit, it was only the loan system that doesn't allow him to play against his parent club, so he's available. Winston Reid, George McCartney, Mark Noble and Joe Cole are all still missing, which is obviously something we have to overcome again. As we did against Liverpool. We were missing those four and Andy Carroll, so I thought it was a tremendous performance and unlike Brendan Rodgers says, I thought we did try and win the game. We always tried to win the game and in the last throws of the game we had several opportunities to maybe try and win it. In saying that, it was a great performance from us and we've got to try and keep that up at a very in-form Southampton on Saturday.

A good defensive display at Liverpool as well, that was the key wasn't it?

SA: "Every key-note performance comes from solid defending. The team that generally defends the best in the league wins the league, not the one that scores the most goals. So, it's always been an imperative part of everyone's game as a manager, or as a coach. It doesn't get talked about as much as attacking or trying to create chances, which is obviously very important because you've got to score a goal to win it, but being solid defensively gave us the basis to try and break out and create some chances and try to score when we had the opportunity."

Andy Carroll at one end and Rickie Lambert at the other, how do you see that shaping up?

SA: "Well I've got to pick Andy first. Whether I'm going to select him or keep Carlton Cole in is a little dilemma because I thought Carlton did ever so well last week. I suppose had Carlton scored, I'd have definitely kept him but he didn't.

"We just have to make sure that we perform as we did against Liverpool. I think that's the key element for us. Southampton, having won the last three on the trot has given them a tremendous boost and virtually put them safe like ourselves. Nine points in three games, when you're struggling at the bottom and have been for most of the season is a pretty dramatic turnaround. So they will be full of confidence. The fans will be expecting to beat us, there's no doubt about that, after they've just beaten Liverpool and Chelsea at home. I think we'll just be the next step on the ladder for them to beat. I thought the Liverpool fans probably thought they were turning up and going to beat us last week, so we'll hopefully spoil Southampton's party as well."

This is an opportunity for both sides to reach the magic 40 point mark, would you call this the game that will definitely make you safe?

SA: "If we win it, I think so. I know mathematically people will say we can still be caught and somebody could still overtake us but I find it difficult to believe that anybody would. Over the 20 odd years there are only a few cases of teams going down with 40 but it has been a long time since that was actually the case."

Jay Rodriguez has had a great three games scoring in each, is he the dangerman for you?

SA: "Lambert and Rodriguez without a doubt, and Lallana if he plays, all three of them have mastered the challenge of the Premier League brilliantly. Their skills and abilities have been shown in abundance. To be honest with you, Lambert has been doing it right from the very start. He has scored goals in every division he has played in now, which is a magnificent achievement.

"Rodriguez, of course, having had time to settle from Burnley, has shown the sort of goalscoring form that he managed at Burnley before. Lallana has always been a good player in my eyes, so that's a very dangerous front three, if those three play. So we'll need to be as good defensively as were against Liverpool."

A lot of people are talking about there being a more pressing game under Pochettino?

SA: "At home, yes, I think so. I think that at home, we all want to use a pressing game, because it creates a much more active and quicker game that fans want to see at home. They don't want to see us playing with a slow tempo and a slow build up in the Premier League. Certainly when you're the home team, the emphasis is on you, so actually pressing high up the pitch is a good way to get the players on a high tempo and then of course get the fans cheering for the team. It's about coping with that and having the ability to cope with that."

Finally, are you going to be watching the Masters?

SA: "Yes, I'll be watching. I like the early hours of the morning, sitting watch the golf. It's a great time to watch it, when the rest of my family are asleep. It's going to be really interesting as always. Everybody's expecting Tiger this time. It has been a long time since he has been such a big, big favourite and I suppose we'll find out after the first round, whether he's there or thereabouts. For me personally, I hope it's Lee Westwood, I really do. If he can just get the putting right, he never seems to quite get it right, but if anyone deserves one it's him."

Manchester United tickets available now