Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has been heartened by his side's improved away form in recent weeks.

Saturday's 1-1 draw at Southampton extended a run of only one defeat in four road trips and allowed the east Londoners to maintain their 12th position in the Barclays Premier League table.

Big Sam believes the turnaround in fortunes has come at the right time to keep alive the Hammers' hopes of a top-half finish.

He said: "We went to Stoke City a few weeks ago having lost eight away games on the trot and I said to the lads if you want to make sure we are where we want to be - going towards the top half - you're going to have to put the away results right.

"From thereon We've won one, drawn two and only lost one, so to put five points out of 12 on the board has made all the difference for us, and kept the pressure off us from maybe sliding down towards that bottom four.

"It was another very precious point on Saturday. The conditions were very difficult weather-wise, it was like the middle of winter out there, and of course Southampton were in good form at home, which we nullified.

"The overall tactics and the way we played was very good. We got what we deserved and if anything we might have got the winner.

"It was about us not surrendering too easily. I felt previously that we being opened up too many times, we were surrendering possession and the opposition were just playing through us and round us and scoring goals.

"That had to stop, we had to become more resilient defensively as a unit. We had to be more mindful of our responsibilities, with the skill and ability in this league, teams will take advantage if you leave gaps and spaces. We've put that right and it's ended up getting us a few results."

Saturday's point came courtesy of an Andy Carroll free kick and Allardyce has not been surprised by his recent glut of goals.

He continued: "I always said that when he got match fit he'd put the goals in the back of the net and show that he's a good scorer as well as a good player and target man.

"When we needed him he was there and he produced. That's what you want in a team, someone who can turn a game for you and he's turned a few games for us recently.

"He might miss some chances, but it's not worrying him any more - he had one in the second half and he'd have expected to score, but it hasn't worried him. He's waited for the next one, which was a lot harder to put in, but he's struck it really well.

"Coming back from 1-0 down, which is something we haven't done much away from home this season, shows we've got a bit of character as well as a bit of ability."

Wigan Athletic