Sam Allardyce says his West Ham United squad are ready for the 'big' game with second-placed Reading at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.
Speaking at his weekly pre-match press conference, the West Ham United manager explained that the squad are 'in a positive frame of mind' ahead of the game that could see them leapfrog their visitors back into second place in the npower Championship table. There was good news on the injury-front with Abdoulaye Faye's injury not as serious as first thought and Winston Reid back in the running for first-team football.
Would you have taken this position if people had offered you it at the beginning of the season?
SA: Absolutely, yes. We've made massive strides this season. Even though there's been something of a recent lull it's been a fantastic season. We've not won as many of the easy games as we should have done but the bottom line is it's been a fantastic season up to now. 2012 has only brought one defeat. We're on a great run of eleven undefeated. The overall picture is it's a really good season, we're looking forward to Saturday's game in a positive frame of mind and looking to extend our unbeaten run.
We all know how big the game is. If we win we go back into second spot and if we don't it's not over and there are still a few games and a few points to play for. We can win all of the games so it's not the be all and end all. If we don't and we end up drawing then we're still only a point behind Reading going into the last eight games with a very good record and an undefeated run.
What are your thoughts on the club's form?
SA: We're not winning as many as we like at home. But we've just equalled a club record for most away wins and we're likely to beat it. We're performing away from home and if we get the winning steak back at home then we'll be OK.
There's nothing to be negative about. We've not won some of the games but that happens in football. If we'd lost five on the trot then fair enough but we've only drawn five on the trot.
No matter how well you're doing not everyone will be behind you. The game is about opinions and everyone is entitled to theirs. You've got to accept theirs and keep on doing what you know is right.
Some people have said the second half against Peterborough was some of the best football West Ham have played this season?
SA: It was a great to finally see the opposition off. When we started the game, Peterborough were kicking off in front of a full house and they made life difficult for us in the first 25 minutes. When we were tied they didn't have the legs to wear us down. We then took control of the game and did what we had to do. We played much better at Burnley than that but our analysis of the game has always been very positive in terms of what we've done against the opposition. The one thing we haven't done is score more goals than them in some games.
Do you think that with Southampton clear at the top you are now playing for second with Reading?
SA: Well I think it's difficult but it's not mathematically dead so never say never. If we're to catch them we'd have to win every game and that's a possibility with the squad we've got but that might still not be enough.
It's about us winning and whenever that win comes around, you look at Southampton's results and if they have won then you just move on towards your on total.
Could anyone else kick on from below?
SA: You never know. At this time of the season the anxiety takes over and people can't quite achieve what they'd like to and everyone gets a bit more nervous.
What's the latest on Abdoulaye Faye?
SA: It's better news than we thought. He had a big lump on his forehead and the doctor feared it may have caused more trauma than we first expected, but on X-ray it showed only a mild injury and an outer swelling and nothing too serious so it's a minor injury. Friday morning will give an indication of whether he feels good enough to be selected on Saturday.