Manager on Monday

Sam Allardyce is expecting his West Ham United side to keep their cool ahead of a potentially decisive run of fixtures.

Big Sam's side drew 1-1 with Doncaster Rovers on Saturday - their third successive home draw - but still remain in second position in the npower Championship table. Although a draw was not the result everyone was hoping for, the Hammers are now unbeaten in seven matches going into Saturday's away game at Leeds United - the first of five games in the space of 14 days.

"We've had a bit of discussion about the pressure but we're all big enough and professional enough to handle what's thrown at us. We haven't lost the game of football, we've only drawn and frustrated everyone.

"The frustration is that it continues from the draws with Crystal Palace, Watford and Doncaster but in between we've won at Blackpool 4-1 with ten men and we won easily at Cardiff 2-0. We're on an undefeated run but we're not as fluid as we want to be at home and we have the old problem that we need somebody to score goals when we get the chances more often.

"If we do that in the last 11 games then we won't have a problem. If we don't then we're going to keep our nerve-ends jangling right until the end of football matches."

The one point gained could easily have been three had any one of a number of home chances found the back of the net. Carlton Cole hit the crossbar, Ricardo Vaz Te had a goal ruled out for a push and Jack Collison put a golden chance wide with virtually the last kick of the game, leaving Big Sam to once again call for his side to be more ruthless.

"We had a bit of a problem when we lost the goal against Doncaster as we got a bit edgy and a bit panicky and we can't allow ourselves to do that. But in saying that we settled down and got the best chance to win it with the last kick of the game.

"We could do with the front men or whoever it falls to delivering a bit more in goals. That's our problem. It hasn't been a problem away from home but it has been a problem at the Boleyn Ground and whoever it falls to we've got to be a bit more clinical and then we'll start winning instead of drawing.

All five of West Ham United's remaining home games are against teams that currently reside in the top nine places in the npower Championship, which means each and every one could go a long way in deciding the make-up of the final standings at the top. If the Hammers are to conclude their season in one of the top two places they crave, they must rediscover that winning feeling  at home - starting with Middlesbrough on Tuesday week.

"There's a confidence that we're good enough to go up but there's always been a worry. Every time I wake up at 6am on Saturday morning there's a worry. I think that we've got the capabilities in the squad as long as too many things don't go against us. Against Doncaster, we had some of our own misfortunes, an injury to the wrong player at the wrong time and perhaps a refereeing decision or two that didn't go our way.

"Those things have to go in your favour when you're top of the league. But at the end of the day we haven't lost so we're on an undefeated run."

The West Ham United medical team will be busy this week working on various knocks and niggles with Winston Reid, Julien Faubert, Joey O'Brien, Guy Demel and Papa Bouba Diop all missing Saturday's draw through injury.

"My main concern is getting players fit and available, whether it's Joey O'Brien, Julien Fuabert, Winston Reid, Papa Boub Diop or Vaz Te. The end of our busy run will decide whether we've given ourselves a bit of breathing space or whether we're going to have to fight until the end. It's in our hands in the five games we'll face in the two weeks in the league after Leeds."

Promotion rivals Reading completed their eighth consecutive win on Saturday to move level on points with West Ham, but the east Londoners' superior goal difference means they stay in second. Interestingly, both teams hold a game in hand over leaders Southampton, meaning their three-point lead could be pegged back to set up a dramatic finale.

"I still think there are others that can go on an amazing run like Reading. Reading have won eight on the trot now so it's a terrific run they've gone on. What we've got to do is win football matches and not worry about anyone else.

"At end of day we are second in the league on 66 points with Reading with one game in hand on Southampton, which catches them up points-wise if we win it."

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