Big Sam on Palace

Sam Allardyce is backing his players to show the perfect response to their midweek setback when they go to Crystal Palace.

The Hammers manager spoke to the press on Thursday afternoon at the Boleyn Ground, and revealed his team had stepped up their efforts in training in a bid to wipe away the memory of the 1-0 defeat by Ipswich Town on Tuesday.

Despite that defeat, the Hammers are still just two points off top spot and are looking to continue their four-match unbeaten run on the road this season in the npower Championship. West Ham have won at Doncaster Rovers, Watford and Nottingham Forest, as well as drawing last time out at Millwall.

What's the team news?

We are still going to have to wait until tomorrow to decide on Matt [Taylor] and Winston [Reid]. We have another couple of players who are doubtful including Joey O'Brien who at this moment in time is feeling a hamstring. He did it in the last minute of the game on Tuesday trying to stop the goal that Ipswich scored. He is a little bit of a concern. Other than that it is about recovering mentally and getting a positive attitude going to Crystal Palace after the disappointment against Ipswich.

Have you discussed conceding late goals in training?

SA: We are all aware of the disappointment of conceding in such a late period of the game and what the costs might be in the long term for automatic promotion. As I have said before, teams that want to win promotion really do the reverse of what we have done recently and that is win points in the last minutes and not throw points away. On the basis of what we have done in the first five home games, it is a little bit disappointing. We want to eradicate that from now on.

Is Upton Park a factor?

SA: Teams do want to come and prove in front of a big crowd that they are capable of taking on a team that throughout the world of football is fancied to get automatic promotion. The fans want to see good performances and good results at Upton Park. We all have to live with that pressure and accept it for what it is. Pressure is a pleasure, not a hindrance, in our game. We have to focus better.

Is Kevin Nolan still to get into his stride?

A lot of players are still only going to grow and get better. I think based on our new the team and staff are, we are sitting in a comfortable position overall in the nine games we have competed in. I personally think that we can wonder what might have been with just a couple of the home games. We need to get the points when they are available, and not chase points to make them up. That is what we have to do now at Palace.

Three points would keep you on track?

We have to make sure we try and win but the main thing is not to lose as everyone will see it as a disaster if we lose two games on the trot. That is what we have to avoid. We have to take our away form and our away results into the Palace game, look at that and say to ourselves 'We are a major force away from home and let's go and prove it at Palace'.

It will be a difficult game because I watched them beat Wigan in the Carling Cup a couple of weeks ago. I was very impressed with how they played on the night. They were worthy winners. That wasn't a win they pinched, it was thoroughly deserved and they outplayed a Premier League side that still had most of its players in.

It is a very tight table. Will it stay like that all season?

It looks like it. It looks like someone will always slip up when not expected. I certainly didn't expect to lose against Ipswich, even if I expected it to be a tough game. Their side matched us in nearly all departments in terms of quality and experience. The players didn't respond to the fact the challenge was so good, so we underachieved while Ipswich played to their maximum. We must realise that in every game we must be at the top of our game to get a result and move further on.

Palace have had troubled years but are on the way back?

I was very pleased to meet the new owners and directors when I went to the Palace-Wigan game. I was pleased to see how much stability they have brought and are taking it forward and of course a good young manager who knows the club inside and out because he has played there for so long. They have a good old head in Lennie Lawrence and they are building and growing gradually, which is always the best way to be successful. The result they achieved at Brighton on Tuesday means we know we are in for a difficult game on the form they are in. It is also a local derby. It might not be as intense as Millwall but it will still be intense going down there.

A lot of West Ham fans would like to see Carlos Tevez back on loan? Is that feasible?

At this stage, I don't really know!