Big Sam on Coventry City

Sam Allardyce has held his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's npower Championship visit to Coventry City.

West Ham United travel to the Ricoh Arena knowing a victory over the Sky Blues would strengthen their grip on second place in the table and potentially close the gap on leaders to Southampton to two points.

The Hammers are aiming to extend their unbeaten run to five matches ahead of a busy period that will see the team play six matches in the space of a month leading up to Christmas.

What is your reaction to Sepp Blatter's comments about racism and football?

I haven't read the transcript yet, to be honest. I was listening to it on the radio but they never actually expressed what he did actually say. By the reaction, it was an outrageous statement and if that's what it is when I get the chance to read it through myself, I would no doubt agree with what everybody has been saying.

Somebody in such a high profile position saying this - if I am reading what everyone else's reaction is - is very disapointing to say the very least.

I haven't actually read the transcript yet, so I'll maybe comment later when I've read it. According to everybody's reaction, I would 100 per cent agree with them.

Certainly in this country and in football, we will always promote the fact we are a mult-national sport and a multi-racial society. We all want to get on with each other as best as we possibly can, no matter what nationality we are or what colour we are.

I do think he should resign, but it won't happen. I don't anybody believes he will resign over this statement or situation. It would be nice if he did, but I don't think it will happen.

I wouldn't want to speculate about the way forward without thinking about it further. Preparing my team for Coventry has been my main aim. We've had a couple of trialists in this week and my total focus has been on the team and the players, so I haven't given it an awful lot of thought.

Those in more powerful positions than me will hopefully try to do the right thing and get the right decision in terms of this situation.

How is the squad looking at present?

It's looking a little better than the last time we played at Hull. Matt Taylor has joined back into training and Guy Demel is training with the squad on a regular basis, having completed two behind-closed doors games in the last couple of weeks. Joey O'Brien is also back from a hamstring injury.

Our key area of concern is still at centre-back, where we only have Abdoulaye Faye and James Tomkins who are recognised central defenders. We seem to be coping very well with the loss of Henri Lansbury and David Bentley and the fact Matt Taylor has been out for a while. The squad has done very, very well.

My search for someone to come in has been long and arduous but hasn't borne any fruit yet because the time of the year means all of the good quality players who would have been available for loan are already loaned out to other football clubs.

It's been difficult to find someone we could get on loan at this time where we are a little bit short at central defender.

Matt is probably the furthest away, Joey is ready to play and Guy, even though he is short of match-fitness he has had a couple of games and proved his fitness. At some stage we'll get him in. He comes in and strengthens the squad.

If you have a good, strong bench every week, it makes it easier to make the changes that may need to be made. Even though we're short on numbers, the introduction of Carlton Cole at Hull was the major turning point in terms of getting the result that we got.

He came on and gave us that extra dimension and created both goals - one for Sam Baldock and one for Jack Collison - so it's good to have a bigger squad to choose from.

Is it true you tried to sign Sebastien Squillaci from Arsenal?

Yes it is true, but the technical difficulty was that another loan would have meant that he couldn't go anywhere else this season. We couldn't go any further with that, unfortunately.

What about Francisco Pavon?

We have had a look at him in training, but the problem is that he hasn't had a club since the start of the season so it's a question of how long it would take to get him up to speed. We might need somebody against Coventry - as quickly as that.

We have a three-game week coming up and we might need someone for that. Ability-wise, Franco would be ca;pable, but physically because he hasn't a club means that fitness is way down. We haven't written it off yet.

And Andy O'Brien?

No. I think he has got a longer and more permanent deal than somebody else.

It must seem like ages since your team's last match at Hull City on 5 November?

No! It's been a great two weeks for two reasons. The biggest reason of all is that it's allowed us to look at the options to get somebody else in. The other is that it's given us a chance to recover some of the players who have been injured.

The players who have played game after game after game have a lot of niggles and knocks and bumps and bruises which have now cleared up.

The same has happened to every club in those two weeks, but we hopefully benefitted more than most. We'll see in our performance and result at Coventry, but the two weeks have fallen at the right time for us.

Do you feel you have momentum?

We have a huge momentum moving forward at the moment and the wins have been the most important thing. I think the performances have been equally as good as our results - both are starting to come hand in hand.

The demand is to keep it up consistently on a regular basis, which is what is needed to acquire the spot we're in now at the end of the season, or the one higher if we can get there.

The demand is huge and a lot of the players haven't worked under that demand for some quite considerable time. Winning is always very difficult, but you've obviously got to win a huge amount of games out of the 46 to gain promotion. You've got to get 90 points or better.

Is this the crunch time of the season?

It's a change of climate. The winter months are drawing in and the days are getting shorter. The training ground becomes more uncomfortable to work at so it's a different mentality.

It's a difficult part of the season for that reason and because of the number of games played at this time of year. We've just had three international breaks and that has allowed us to get to know each other and recover from injuries.

Now we'll have to call upon them week-in, week-out until the end of January. It'll be a big demand on everybody but hopefully we can rise to the challenge consistently.

The fewer injuries we get, hopefully the better results we get.