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2014-08-21T09:30:00 Updated 2015-02-18T21:15:08

Big Sam on: Crystal Palace

West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce faced the press on Thursday morning ahead of Saturday's game at Crystal Palace.

The gaffer fielded questions on the managerial situation at Crystal Palace, his side's ability in front of goal and the need to bring in a centre half to cover for injuries and suspensions.

Read the full report from the press conference here.

Morning Sam. First of all you might have expected to see Malky Mackay in the opposition dugout on Saturday. What's your take on what's been going on over there at Crystal Palace?

SA: "I just think they need to appoint whoever they think is the right man as quickly as possible. I think Keith [Millen], judging by the performance at Arsenal, has them in good standing. He's done it before and has been with them all pre-season so that's fine. It might not be beyond the chairman of Crystal Palace to let him have a go, you've seen that happen before if [the caretaker] gets a couple of results.

"It's a difficult situation to be in at the start of a season if you lose your manager, but it's something you have to face and the players have to do the job. They're professionals and they want guidance from the manager, that's very important, but I think for a short period of time they can do and use what they got during pre-season to go and get results.

"You just have to look at the way they played against Arsenal - they were thoroughly professional and in many ways were very unfortunate to lose the game away from home at the Emirates, which is a big result for anybody, whether they have a manager or not. They are always very difficult to break down - we found that last year when they beat us 1-0 twice, both goals from set pieces. We expect them to be difficult to break down again on Saturday and very dangerous on the break."

You spoke after the game last week about the failure to take your chances against Spurs. Does that emphasise the search for a striker?

SA: "We've done that search and they're here. The problem is that they're not quite ready yet but we will use them if and when we can. Now Sakho has arrived as well as Enner [Valencia], they're moving along with their fitness on a daily basis and will certainly be used as quickly as possible. If not against Crystal Palace, they'll certainly be used against Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup and hopefully they can hit the ground running.

"There's no search for any more strikers from our point of view. My problem and my difficulty is more at the other end. We don't have James Collins because he's suspended and we may not have James Tomkins because of injury, and that leaves a massive hole for us in the central defensive position where we only have Winston Reid. That's my biggest concern moving into the Crystal Palace game."

In terms of that cover at the back, are you looking at making signings?

SA: "We're looking at players who are able to play in that position from throughout Europe."

Looking at Palace's game against Arsenal last week, what can you take from that?

SA: "I think they have some better players than they did last year, but they very much stick to the same type of structural organisation. It was difficult to beat them last year and it'll be just as difficult with the players they've brought in.

"The new players have lots of Premier League experience and from that point of view we'll have a tough job. There's still lots of excitement around the ground there, in the second season in the Premier League, and the players know their positions and know what the job is. At the start of last season they found it difficult to cope with the league, but Tony Pulis came in and structured it accordingly.

"It'll be a tight game, I think. Don't think there'll be many goals in it, but hopefully it'll be as entertaining as it possibly can be."

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