Sam Allardyce was in good spirits ahead of Saturday's home Barclays Premier League clash against Everton, as he fielded questions regarding the challenge that faces his side at the Boleyn Ground.

A third clean sheet in four league games against Southampton last weekend has had the manager singing the team's defensive praises, but going forward things have been a little different.

After the opening day 2-0 home win over Cardiff City, West Ham United have failed to find the net in three league matches and Big Sam is hopeful the team will return to goal scoring form on Saturday afternoon.

Sam, It's been three games since you last scored in the league so is that a concern for you?

SA: "Yes there's no doubt about it, we've been creating chances but our quality of finishing has not been good enough. Opportunities have arisen for us and although we took them very well against Cardiff we've been unable to take them in the other games and we've ended up drawing two and losing one because of that.

"On the defensive side we've been very good, conceding only one goal in four Barclays Premier League games provides a great platform to build on. When you're in possession and you get to the creative side of your game you've got to take the opportunity when it arises to score a goal and then that gives you the chance to secure three points. When you score it obviously relieves the pressure from the defence and at the moment that's a concern, but hopefully it won't be the case against Everton on Saturday."

Are you expecting a different Everton side now that Roberto Martinez is in charge?

SA: "The players are more or less the same with a few very good additions to the squad. Gareth Barry in particular is an outstanding acquisition from Manchester City and with Romelu Lukaku joining their frontline as well he's given them some excellent options. They've got a very good variety of players added to the ones that were already there.

"Arouna Kone has been bought in and they've only really lost Marouane Fellaini so not only is their starting eleven strong but their whole squad is now very strong. Our job on Saturday is to make sure we know what we're playing against, they will try and pass the ball out from the back more than they did under David Moyes but after that they generally play the same as they did under David.

"They try to exploit the wings with the wide players cutting inside and the full-backs bombing forward. They try to get into the final third and put you under pressure with balls into the box for the likes of Nikica Jelavic and Lukaku to get on the end of. They had a fantastic result against Chelsea last weekend so we're expecting a tough match on Saturday."

During the transfer window was Lukaku one of the players you tried to sign?

SA: "He was one of our targets, I think we chased him all summer to be honest. On the final day of the window we unfortunately missed out and Everton snapped him up. We were told that he was heading back to West Brom but for whatever reason he ended up going to Everton and we didn't manage to clinch the deal."

What's the latest news on Andy Carroll's injury?

SA: "Andy's doing fine. He's recovering well now and we've set out a programme for his recovery which will hopefully not be as long as last time. We can't put a length of time on how long he'll be out for. We just have to see how he progresses on a week by week basis. He'll go to Europe for some one to one treatment which we've identified for him and which will hopefully speed up his recovery."

Is there any danger that Andy might not play again this year?

SA: "I don't think we can say that at this moment in time. It's a week by week assessment now guided by the specialists who are in charge of his recovery."

How is Mladen Petric progressing?

SA: "He's training every day and trying to overcome the fatigue that he's feeling from the pre-season work that he's doing at the moment. His training is a lot more physically intense than it would generally be at this time of the year, which leaves him a little fatigued.

"We're finding that his recovery is becoming quicker and quicker. He's now into the football side as well as the physical side of the training programme and is coming along very nicely.

"He's enjoying being back at a football club and around a group of players he can interact with rather than be on his own running around a park somewhere, or going in a gym like he did before he joined us. We expect him to make an appearance at some stage during the Cardiff match as he's progressing well."

Tuesday night will be your 100th game in charge of West Ham. Looking back, how do you assess your time here?

SA: "I've had a great time. There have been little or no hiccups and our progress has been exceptional during the time I've been here. I've worked as hard with the staff as I have with the players to instil a winning mentality and also make sure we look after ourselves as a squad as we're all in this together.

"From the backroom staff to the first-team players we've worked hard to create a great team spirit which will stand us in good stead for the challenges we face. Overall our progress has been very good and whilst we targeted tenth place last year, deep down many of us probably thought we wouldn't have achieved it but we did and now we have to build on that.

"For me it's been very enjoyable and the time has flown by and I hope we can move on together and better what we achieved last season."

What's the current situation involving Carlton Cole?

SA: "He's training with us at the moment and hopefully when Carlton gets fit enough to be part of the squad then we'll talk to him about the contract situation. We still have one place available in our squad, with 24 players currently named, so we still have one place left for somebody.

"We have George McCartney back training with us, Joe Cole and Stewart Downing are very close to re-joining the team and after the Everton match they will probably be back in full training. If Carlton proves that he can be the player we all know he's capable of being then hopefully he'll join us as well."

How much has Andy Carroll's absence affected your tactics?

SA: "We always assess the team we're playing against and then we decide on a style of play which we hope will expose them. We've always exposed everybody's weaknesses and created chances but our failure has come in scoring those chances. Unfortunately against Southampton our best chance fell to James Collins but we had many other chances before that, including the goal which got ruled out.

"People will tell you that it was offside but when you look at the replay but he wasn't more than an inch offside and 99 times out of 100 the assistant referee wouldn't put his flag up. Kevin Nolan produced an exquisite finish and that's what we're looking for on a more consistent basis and unfortunately they ruled it out.

"Had we gone in front it gives us a great chance to go on and win the game. We don't know whether we would have won the game from there but it gives you that chance and that's what I'm looking for from the game on Saturday."

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