Big Sam reacts to FA Cup draw

Sam Allardyce is backing his players to rise to the challenge when West Ham United travel to Everton in the FA Cup third round.

The Hammers could not have been handed a much tougher draw than a trip to Goodison Park, where they succumbed to a narrow 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat in November.

However, Big Sam believes his in-form side can continue their outstanding recent run, with the likes of Diafra Sakho, Cheikhou Kouyate and Alex Song possibly playing their final game before heading to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

"It wasn't so long ago we were at Goodison Park, where we got a disappointing result but put in what I thought was a very good performance," the manager began. "Obviously it will be a really tough game, our fourth game in eight days and away from home against Premier League opposition.

"That said, if you are going to do well in the FA Cup, you need to pull off wins over sides of a similar level to yourselves. We are in fantastic form at the moment and hopefully by the time we get to 3 January, the injury list won't be too big and we will still have the three players available before they go to the African Nations Cup.

"If I have a full squad available for those four games in eight days, that will be very useful as it will give me the opportunity to rotate the squad and continue the fantastic form we are in at the moment. I've been changing the side on a regular basis due to injuries and to cope with three games last week, so the squad has done exceptionally well to achieve the results we have acquired, so I don't see any reason why won't continue in that vein."

West Ham have met Everton eight times in the FA Cup previously, with each club coming out on top on four occasions. The Toffees won the first four ties, including the first-ever meeting between the pair in February 1907 and a semi-final in March 1933.

More recently, the Hammers prevailed after a semi-final replay on their way to winning the trophy in 1980, when Frank Lampard scored a memorable winner at Elland Road, and Stuart Slater produced a virtuoso display in a quarter-final success in 1991.

"The recent record against Everton in the FA Cup is very good, so let's hope we can keep that going!" said Big Sam, who has never managed against Everton in the FA Cup himself.

The tie will see two former Everton FA Cup finalists return to Goodison Park in the shape of assistant manager Neil McDonald, who started the 1989 defeat by Liverpool, and goalkeeper coach Bobby Mimms, who was between the sticks in the loss to the Reds in 1986.

Ticket and fixture details for West Ham's visit to Goodison Park on the weekend of 3 January 2015 will be confirmed soon.