Big Sam on: Manchester City

Sam Allardyce hopes that his side can play with even greater freedom in the final four games of the Barclays Premier League season, now that they have a top ten finish within their sights.

Having amassed 42 points to date, and sitting pretty in tenth, Big Sam urged his players to end the campaign on a high.

First up is Saturday's lunchtime kick-off at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, one that the Hammers' boss accepts is a sizeable challenge.

How much satisfaction does it give you, that you could finish not just top-half but potentially eighth?

SA: "I think that I said from the very start that our goal was to try and finish around mid-table. I always felt that tenth was the highest possible position for this year. It would be great to try and achieve it. We're there with four games to go.

"We've not been lower than 14th all season, so it shows the consistency really, that the players have shown. Like every team, in some period of the season we went several games with only one win. That happens to everyone who's in and around that area of the Premier League and, of course, if it's only one period then it's not too bad.

"We haven't done that apart from around December and January, so we've come out of that bleak spell and now we're moving into the final throes of the season in a very comfortable position. And I think we can enjoy and relax without detracting from performance. In fact, I'm hoping that it will enhance the lads to perform even better than they've already done. While we're not mathematically safe, it's going to be very difficult for the teams below us to catch us and put us into a relegation-threatened position."

How great an achievement do you think this is, given that the team who won the Championship last year are going to get relegated…

SA: "I don't get any satisfaction out of what other teams haven't achieved or should have achieved. It's just about me doing my job at West Ham United that I came to do. Whatever I came to say I was going to do I've done, so that gives me great satisfaction.

"We could easily lose our last four games or we could still continue our undefeated run. We've got two very difficult away games against Manchester City and Everton. And then two very difficult - on paper they don't look as difficult - Newcastle haven't performed that well away from home this season and of course Reading, who are struggling at the bottom.

"So we just look forward to Manchester City. First and foremost focus on that, concentrate on that, trying to give the best performance we possibly can and see whether that gets a result at a very difficult place to go and play football."

Sam, there must be a bit of next season in your mind, are you tempted to bring in a few of the younger players?

SA: "Well, we've talked about that, but at £800,000 a place in the league, it's something that I have to consider. The higher we finish in the league the more revenue it generates, the better budgeting figures we can attain for next season. We will, inevitably, I think try one or two younger players, but it will not be a big change to the team, it might just be the odd change here or there, or bringing them on as a substitute.

And finally, any team news for Saturday?

SA: "No, we've got no extra injuries. Just James Tomkins and George McCartney at the moment, the rest of the squad are fine and enjoyed a couple of well-earned days off after the week that they had and are back in and ready to go against Manchester City."