Billy Bonds MBE believes it will not be long before his beloved West Ham United start climbing the Barclays Premier League table.

The Hammers legend, who was honoured with the Club's inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in May, says the Board, manager Sam Allardyce and his coaching staff will be 'burning the midnight oil' to put things right on and off the pitch.

Speaking exclusively to the Official Website, Bonds, who spent 28 years at the Boleyn Ground as a player, coach and manager, backed West Ham to return to winning ways when they host Sunderland on Saturday.

"I came along and saw the first game of the season and I thought we looked very good on the day," said Bonds. "I said before the start of the season that I couldn't see us getting into a relegation battle. People were asking me where I thought we'd finish and I said mid-table. I saw nothing in that Cardiff game which suggested that it wasn't achievable this season.

"Since then results haven't gone as well but I'm not telling anybody, certainly not Sam, his staff or the supporters, why because we know what's gone wrong - it's a shortage up front, really.

"Sam set his side out to be tough to beat with a tough back four and they've kept a lot of clean sheets this year. He sets his side up that way and has brought in two wide men in Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing. He's got Joe Cole playing in that area too and it was all geared up to getting the ball wide and getting the ball in the box."

Bonds pointed the absence of the injured Andy Carroll and the lack of goals from the Club's other forwards as the major reason for the recent downturn in results.

"When Andy Carroll was in the side he was a real threat, people didn't even like to mark him. He put himself about in the box and I think Kevin Nolan is another one who is nullified a bit without a big man upfront and certainly the two wingers are nullified a bit getting the ball in the box as they probably lack options in there.

"It's pretty obvious where things are going wrong a little bit. I'm sure Sam and all his staff have been burning the midnight oil and maybe when the transfer window opens they've probably got a few names who they want to bring in and strengthen that department because that is the obvious thing."

While he knows Carroll can play an influential role on his return from a foot injury, Bonds has warned supporters not to expect too much, too soon, from the No9.

"I think, even when he's back fit, you've got to get someone else in because he's a big lad and when you come back from a long injury like that there is every chance he could get another injury. That can happen when you've been out for a long time. Hopefully he'll come back in and stay in there until the end of the season.

"I'm not telling Sam anything he doesn't already know. I'm sure he's been thinking about the January transfer window coming round. I'm sure that will be Sam's priority. They've been tough to beat, they've kept clean sheets, but obviously they're missing Winston Reid who's had a terrific season for them. If you can get everybody back fit, I don't see them having a problem. It's easy for me to say from the outside because I don't have the job and I haven't got to worry about it now. I don't see them having any problem staying up, I really don't."

Bonds, who twice led West Ham to promotion to the top-flight during his four years in charge, also had personal words of support for Big Sam.

As someone with huge experience of the game as a player, captain and a manager, the two-times FA Cup winner and four-times Hammer of the Year urged everyone connected with the Club to stay patient and support the boss who brought them back to the Barclays Premier League at the first attempt.

"I think Sam has done what he was asked to do," said the 67-year-old. "His brief was to get the club out of the Championship into the Premier League and then to cement that place. They more than cemented it last year, when they did really well and finished half way up the table.

"I think now is the time you need to get behind the team because it is a difficult period at the moment. We're not in a desperate position because if you're four or five points adrift then you start to worry, but we're not in that situation and we're one win away from being mid-table, it's that tight.

"Even when you start the season there are a dozen teams in that league thinking 'Stay in the league this year' and there's maybe four or five thinking 'We might finish in a Champions League place' then there's another two or three who aren't going to get involved in it.

"There's a long way to go yet, a lot of points to play for and as I say if we can do something in January, get the big lad back then I can see us pushing on."

That push can begin this Saturday, when Sunderland arrive at the Boleyn Ground boasting the Barclays Premier League's leakiest defence and just two wins in 15 matches.

"Sunderland will be fighting for their lives as well and it's obviously a big game for us it's one we certainly don't want to be losing," Bonds concluded. "They will come and have a go because they've got a new man in with new ideas and I saw a couple of their games recently and they put up a show against Chelsea. It's a winnable game for us and we'd like to be winning, especially with the way things stand at the moment."