Sam Allardyce will celebrate his 100th game in charge of West Ham United when Cardiff City visit the Boleyn Ground for a Capital One Cup third round tie on Tuesday.
The Hammers manager spoke to the press to preview his side's second meeting with Cardiff in a little over a month.
It's a landmark game for you tomorrow night against Cardiff, your 100th game in charge. Your record is played 99, won 42, drawn 27 and lost 30, how proud are you of that record?
SA: "Obviously I'm very pleased with the record we had in the Barclays Premier League last year and the year before we were expected to do well in the Championship. If you look at the stats for how many teams are promoted the season after they were relegated you'll find that there are very few, around 20 per cent who actually manage it. We've done everything that we said we would do, not just me and the backroom staff, but also the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman and everyone else behind the scenes.
"We set out with the plan to get promoted in the first year, we did that. The second year we planned to stay up and in the end we surpassed expectations and finished tenth. Now we've got to bring a sustainable balance to the squad which is going to keep us in the Premier League for many, many years. We need to grow slowly, it's probably unacceptable in today's football but we have to convince everybody that growing slowly is the right way. It sustains the ability to get better and better and when you do that you are then able to achieve more and you can start looking at bigger things."
You made eleven changes in the last round against Cheltenham, will you do the same for Cardiff?
SA: "We will make some changes. We're in a difficult position with our points total which we're very disappointed that we haven't achieved more. We had a huge blow to us on Saturday losing the game against Everton which we didn't deserve, but that happens. This is a ruthless league and if you don't do what you should do then it ends up punishing you.
"I watched Norwich versus Aston Villa before our game and Chris Hughton will have been absolutely gutted when he woke up to review that game and saw how many chances they had to bury Aston Villa, they didn't and ended up losing. In our case it wasn't quite like that because we had the lead twice but Mr Baines was on top form. I don't think he's ever scored two in a game, particularly like he did. Our fault came in giving the free-kicks away, that's where the responsibility lies for us. All the lads know about his quality, everybody does, the ordinary supporter in the stand knows. The last thing you do is commit fouls and give them free-kicks in dangerous areas, we did that twice and got punished heavily."
Will Joe Cole and Stewart Downing feature against Cardiff?
SA: "No they won't feature in this game. I would have loved the match to be next week rather than this week as they both would have played. They won't be involved on Tuesday because both of them are only due back in training with the other players on Monday and putting them into what will be a hugely competitive game has come too early for them. It will be a hugely competitive match because there will be a lot of players out there who will be trying to convince both myself and Malky [Mackay, Cardiff manager] that they should be playing in the first team on a more regular basis."
You've reached the 100 game mark here, something which is becoming rarer in today's climate. Are you proud when you reach a landmark like this?
SA: "I enjoy working in football and have enjoyed it for so many years now that it's the only thing I really know. When you're in the job you're obviously fearful of getting the sack. It's a survival game no matter what anybody says, particularly for young managers. They've got to learn how to survive and then evolve. When you reach 100 games and people say well done, it worries me. If it's 300 games or 400 games, fine, but 100 games should be more commonplace than it is. The constant change of managers which we're now faced with has turned reaching 100 games into a bit of an achievement. For me, that's pretty disappointing that in our professional leagues we change managers so much."
You've had a good result against Cardiff already this season and since then they've shown some resilience. Are they a side in the mould of their manager?
SA: "I think that Malky and his staff do a really good job in terms of playing to their strengths and organising the team. He's learnt over his time at Watford and now at Cardiff that his job is about results and using his squad to the best of their ability. When we played them at our place, him, his team and his players have adjusted very quickly to life in the Premier League.
"We won that game comfortably on the day but since then they've reorganised themselves and had some fantastic results. Malky's done a great job, his team are well organised and they know what's expected of them. We had a tough match against Cheltenham in the last round and I'm expecting another tough game against Cardiff."
Mladen Petric made a positive impact from the bench on Saturday. Will he start against Cardiff?
SA: "I don't think a start because we're talking about a player who's only had half-an-hour in a highly competitive game in the Barclays Premier League. The physicality is greater than anywhere else in the world and he's only in week two of his pre-season. Normally he would be playing 45 minutes against Cork City but instead he's had 30 minutes against Everton so he's feeling the stresses and strains of that. We have to be careful because we don't want him to get injured, but he will be in the squad."