Big Sam ready for pre-season return

Sam Allardyce believes West Ham United's pre-season schedule will give the Hammers the best possible preparation for the 2014/15 campaign.

The Hammers face fixtures against teams from England, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany and Italy, with each presenting a different challenge.

With the squad returning to training this coming Thursday, before the World Cup has even reached the quarter-final stage, the players will be in perfect physical shape for the year ahead.

The manager said: "We plan our pre-season extremely well and this year's is probably the best one we've done in my time here. We didn't expect to suffer as many injuries as we did last season, as in pre-season we didn't suffer any injuries at all.

"That was very important, every lad was really fit and we started the season performance-wise exceptionally well.

"But instead of winning the games we should have done, we drew them, which cost us in December when the injuries started coming around.

"Coming back early is a thing we've done in the past, we're back on 3 July, then we have a training camp in the Evian valley to get the players fit, then we have New Zealand and Germany which is very exciting for the level of games we're going to play.

"There's a game at home against Sampdoria and that'll be the perfect pre-season for us."