Winterburn backs Big Sam

Nigel Winterburn is upbeat about West Ham United's promotion chances following the appointment of new manager Sam Allardyce.

The former Hammers and England left-back is a big admirer of the new boss, who he believes will instil a brand of winning football at the Boleyn Ground.

In an exclusive interview with West Ham TV, the 47-year-old expressed his optimism ahead of the new npower Championship campaign.

"What you can say about Sam Allardyce is that he organises his teams very well, looks at and analyses all his data so this West Ham won't miss out on anything organisation-wise," said Winterburn.

"I just have a sneaky feeling that Sam might just change his style of play. Everybody associates him with a more direct style, but we all know that the Upton Park faithful want to be entertained, see commitment and winning football.

"I think Sam might give a mix of that because he feels he has something to prove with a London team who like to entertain but have been relegated too often in recent years.

"Maybe he can put his own style into it which will be a winning style, as well."

The ex-Wimbledon and Arsenal star, who was part of the West Ham squad relegated from the Premier League in 2002/03, also highlighted the need to get a settled squad as soon as possible.

With a busy pre-season schedule and 46-game league season ahead, Winterburn knows the importance of having a settled side if the club are going to make a successful start to the new campaign.

"I think, with a new manager and new ideas, pre-season is vital because you want to get the players you want into the squad straight away. You can then work on fitness and team-shape throughout that pre-season.

"Obviously, even if you have a good pre-season in terms of games won, it doesn't hold you in any sort of stead for the league games coming up, but it does help if you can get some continuity going to start with.

"The real pressure comes on when you start to play in the league and for West Ham, they'll need a terrific start to the season because I think they'll be the favourites to come back up again."

To hear Winterburn's views on the confidence bred by keeping clean sheets and which players could step up in 2011/12, log on to West Ham TV by clicking on the link below.