Big Sam on: Peterborough

Sam Allardyce thinks that spirits in the West Ham United camp are high after last weekend's superb win against Millwall and the return of Guy Demel to full training.

The Hammers manager is making plans for who will replace suspended captain Kevin Nolan, both in terms of his place in the starting XI and the responsibility of wearing the armband. Carlton Cole is one of those that could be considered after his superb efforts against the Lions.

Sam, any injury news you can give us?

SA: Not too bad at the moment. We had a little blow on Thursday with George McCartney having to pull out of training with a tight hamstring but we hope he is going to be OK as he didn't continue any further after that. Guy Demel at long last has joined in training but won't be considered for Saturday as he needs to get a few games under his belt behind closed doors. John Carew has a back problem which is causing us some concern but everyone else is looking fine. Papa Bouba Diop is looking long-term so will be out for some considerable time.

Sir Alex Ferguson says that the manager should be the most important part of a football club. If a decision is made above you does that make your position untenable?

SA: The clarity of the communication levels between the manager and the owners will determine whether you run in to trouble or not. In my job, on a daily basis you don't have to consult the owners' on every decision but there are some decisions that you do need to consult the owners on. As long as that communication process is clear then the decision is made. If you want to make a decision to be made and the owners want to make a another decision, you ultimately accept it and you get on with it. When most decisions have to be made I try to keep in communication with the owners both ways. Our relationship here in terms of communications has been crystal clear and those that have been made have been acted on very, very quickly.

Have you spoken to anyone at the club about the England job?

SA: No I haven't at all regarding the situation and I'm not expecting to. I'm the manager of West Ham and my priority is getting the team promoted at the first time of asking. We find ourselves in a good position and my focus is on my team and winning at Peterborough and against Southampton and from then on to grasp as many points as I can. One of the highlights of my season was last Saturday. A lot of people are wondering why as we've had more spectacular performances and better wins this season and scored lots of goals in lots of games, but it was just the way the players showed so much resolve, team spirit and ability mentally as well as physically to make sure the disappointment of Ipswich was not carried over any further. That gave me great satisfaction.

Have you made plans to replace Kevin Nolan yet?

SA: Yes, it's disappointing for him and for us but I feel that I have got the squad now with all the additions we made in January to cope for three games without Kevin. One man should not make a team and I hope the other lads go on to show that isn't the case.

Have you spoken to Kevin about the tackle?
Well he could have done better looking at the situation but when you talk about the fact the referee has a split second to make decision, well so does a player, probably less so. They have to quickly think 'Can I get it, should I go for it?' and that has to be done in 0.1 seconds. Those who are most consistent make the better ones more than the right ones.

Do the players have to take more responsibility?

SA: Players have to be responsible that even if it is a good tackle and whether you take the ball or not there is a hysteria about in the game in this country that every two-footed challenge is a red card and everybody is being put under pressure to give a red card. Even if it's a dangerous challenge or not. I cannot remember a player getting stretchered off from a two-footed challenge. I'm talking about West Ham, Blackburn, Newcastle and Bolton so I'm talking about ten years of management. I would remember but I can't think of one time a two-footed challenge and a player going to ground injured a player. It looks bad but we're not on about what looks bad, there are tackles that look bad but aren't as bad as that.

Who will captain the side on Saturday?

SA: I don't know yet and haven't thought about it.

Carlton Cole was excellent against Millwall. Have the arrivals of Ricardo Vaz Te and Nicky Maynard given Carlton a bit of a competition?

SA: I think it was a spirited performance by every player when they saw their captain getting sent off. It was a desire that even though things were going against them they weren't going to lose. Every player played that bit harder and did that bit more to cover the loss of that one person and that's why we got that performance. Carlton isn't prolific and has never been that but it's about what he does outside the box as well as what he does in it. What he does in terms of setting up attacks and holding the ball up is very good.