Manager on Monday

West Ham United will head south to take on the all-conquering league leaders on Tuesday night in full confidence after their best display of the season.

Southampton have won seven out of seven in all competitions this season at St. Mary's, having incredibly collected maximum points in each of their last nine League One fixtures at the end of the previous promotion-winning campaign.

As such, Nigel Adkins men have 23 points from the first eleven matches to sit clear at the top of the npower Championship.

The second-placed Hammers, just two points behind, will aim to test that perfect 16-match record to the fullest after what Sam Allardyce described as a "complete performance" in their 4-0 weekend win courtesy of John Carew and Jack Collison either side of man of the match Sam Baldock's first two West Ham goals.

Big Sam said: "We punished Blackpool to the hilt. We have to bear in mind that they came to us on the back of a 5-0 win going into the international break. Their position in the league shows they are no mugs but we overwhelmed them in all departments.

"We made sure we had a very comfortable victory to please everyone and get us off to a good start on what is a big week again."

That big week will see the Saints showdown followed by another testing awayday at Brighton & Hove Albion a week today.

The manager already knew he would have to assess his squad quickly before they hit the M3 on Monday evening, with post-Blackpool concerns over James Tomkins (groin) - brilliant alongside Winston Reid at the back again - and Matt Taylor (calf).

He had already lost Carlton Cole, who was back in training at the end of the week after a slight ligament issue that has been fully resolved, and David Bentley with a season-ending knee injury.

The manager may well change things with Joey O'Brien, Henri Lansbury, Frederic Piquionne and Cole all itching to be involved. There will be some tough decisions with Big Sam admitting his team were "magnificent" from back to front on Saturday.

"I would say it is the complete performance we have been looking for. I actually expected to have a few more fit after a two-week break and to have a bigger squad to choose from.

"The staff sat down on Friday morning and juggled it about a bit for 45 minutes and we said 'let's go with a 4-4-2'. We got a terrific start and we should have finished it before half-time. Big John had two one-on-ones and Sam too. It was a little disappointing to only have one in the first half but the way we finished it off in the first ten minutes of the second half was great.

"If your front two plays well, the team plays well and that's exactly why we have won 4-0, and they had great service from the rest of the team.

"It also pleased me that we never looked like conceding. We have been suspect at home before but this time we never looked like giving a soft goal away."

While there was rightly praise for Manuel Almunia's clean sheet on his home debut in goal, the manager's thoughts have rightly focused on Carew's contribution and Baldock's brilliance.

"John has been an outstanding player in the Premier League for many years and Sam is trying to make his name coming up the leagues as a prolific goalscorer. Both tested the Blackpool centre-backs throughout the game. It was four but could have been a lot more."

Most encouraging for Big Sam was the sight he saw in the dressing room after the game. Rather than bask in the glory, the two front-men were deep in discussion.

"You would have thought they had been playing together for years. I listened to John in the dressing room saying 'When I do this I want you to do that, and when I do that, I want you to go there.'

" I was delighted to stand back and just listen to that. The co-chairmen were good enough to splash the sort of dough they did for Sam, and we've seen why. He not only got two goals but he could have got a lot more. That will give him a huge amount of confidence.

"John was unplayable at times. When you are 6'5 with that amount of ability and strength, he takes some stopping. It was great to see him. Now he has continued with a goal in the last three games, two for us and one for his country, and he is in a goal mood."

The final word was for those packed inside the Boleyn, with even more expected to flock to the visit of big-spending Leicester City on 29 October judging by the ticket office rush.

"Hopefully we can continue this form at Upton Park. There were 32,000 there and they were singing away. We gave them something to sing about and that is what you want when you play at home. You want to look forward to playing at home

"We needed to give the fans a big performance, entertain them and win. We have done all of that and then some."

Leicester City