Tag Archives: allardyce

Sam Allardyce reveals how he once missed out on Robert Lewandowski

Big Sam: How I missed out on Champions League hotshot Lewandowski

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

08:25 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:01 GMT, 26 April 2013

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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has revealed how he missed out on signing Robert Lewandowski – during his time in charge at Blackburn.

The Borussia Dortmund striker was set to hold talks with Rovers in 2010 as he looked for a move from Polish club Lech Poznan.

But the cash-strapped Blackburn board struggled to find the money and the Iceland volcanic ash cloud put the final nail in the coffin when Lewandowski's flight to England was cancelled.

Dortmund stepped in to secure a deal for a fee reported to be around 4.5million euros and the rest is now history.

On target: Lewandowski was set to hold talks with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers in 2010

On target: Lewandowski was set to hold talks with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers in 2010

Allardyce told Sky Sports: 'It's true. He was put forward to sign very strongly by our recruitment staff and unfortunately it was one that got knocked back.

'My distant memory isn't that great but I think (former Rovers chairman) John (Williams) and the board said we are not going to commit that amount of money.

'I think they wanted three or four million euros but we were particularly strapped financially at the time at Blackburn. I watched him play. But I didn't get the chance to meet him.

'I think his agent said he couldn't come over because of the ash cloud, yes. He's probably worth 40 million euros now.'

Missed out: Allardyce was keen to sign Lewandowski but the Rovers board could not find the cash

Missed out: Allardyce was keen to sign Lewandowski but the Rovers board could not find the cash

Allardyce is now left to rue the missed opportunity to sign the Pole who scored four goals against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday night.

He said: 'I think about it every time I see him play.

'He would have had a period of getting used to the level and the physical presence, but with a talent like that it wouldn't have been too long before he started to shine and score goals.

'The level he is playing at now is unbelievable, not just his scoring ability but his ability to retain possession.

'There were a lot of people looking at him at that time as well but we had the edge over everyone else because of the attraction of the Premier League.

'He could have used us as a stepping stone but it didn't happen.'

The one that got away: Lewandowski moved from Lech Poznan to Dortmund for a reported 4.5million euros

The one that got away: Lewandowski moved from Lech Poznan to Dortmund for a reported 4.5million euros

Sam Allardyce thinks one win will keep West Ham up

West Ham one win away from safety after valiant draw, says Allardyce

By
Simon Stone, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

16:55 GMT, 7 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:05 GMT, 7 April 2013

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes his side still require another win to secure their top-flight future following today's 0-0 draw at Liverpool.

The Hammers were denied a first Anfield triumph in 50 years when Lucas turned James Tomkins' goalbound header off the line five minutes from time.

Nevertheless, Allardyce's team are edging themselves away from trouble and, unlike Stoke and Norwich, seem to have played themselves into a little bit of form.

One more needed: West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes his team need one more win to be safe

One more needed: West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes his team need one more win to be safe

'I'd like another three points,' said Allardyce.

'It depends on the run of the teams below us because some are picking up two or three wins back to back. But we are looking up, not down.'

Tomkins and fellow centre-half James Collins were outstanding, restricting Liverpool to few clear-cut chances, even if one of them was ruled out for offside, only for TV replays to suggest Daniel Sturridge's second-half effort should have stood.

'To have won would have been a massive bonus for us as it is 50 years since we last did it,' said Allardyce.

Outstanding: James Collins (left) was excellent in keeping Luis Suarez quiet

Outstanding: James Collins (left) was excellent in keeping Luis Suarez quiet

Twisting and turning: Mo Diame (left) tries to find a way through the Liverpool defence

Twisting and turning: Mo Diame (left) tries to find a way through the Liverpool defence

'But it is still a very big point, and very well deserved.

'I don't think we have defended better away from home all season.

'Collins and Tomkins were really good when you consider how few chances Liverpool had.'

Tomkins was not able to see out the entire game, although Allardyce revealed the calf injury that forced his early departure was not too serious.

Injured: James Tomkins, who was colossal alongside Collins, went off with a calf injury

Injured: James Tomkins, who was colossal alongside Collins, went off with a calf injury

Not given: Gerrard was denied a penalty, James Tomkins adjudged to have won the ball

Not given: Gerrard was denied a penalty, James Tomkins adjudged to have won the ball

Tracking back: Ricardo Vaz Te (left) epitomises West Ham's work rate

Tracking back: Ricardo Vaz Te (left) epitomises West Ham's work rate

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insists Andy Carroll will not be sold on the cheap

Rodgers insists Carroll will not leave for peanuts, but don't expect anywhere near the 'astronomical' 35m paid in the first place

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 5 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 5 April 2013

Andy Carroll will not be allowed to leave Liverpool on the cheap with Brendan Rodgers undecided whether the 35m striker is part of his plans.

The 28-year-old is currently on loan at West Ham and will sit down with Rodgers at the end of the season to discuss his Anfield future.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is keen sign Carroll on a permanent basis, while the player’s former club Newcastle are monitoring the situation.

Wanted man Carroll's future is still unsure, with his Liverpool contract running out in 2016

Wanted man Carroll's future is still unsure, with his Liverpool contract running out in 2016

Brendan Rodgers

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew

Been and gone: Rodgers (left) wiants a good fee for Carroll, with Alan Pardew (right) rumoured to be interested

Although Rodgers has warned potential suitors they will have to pay the going rate for the powerful target man.

‘It’s absolutely the case that, just the same as last season, If the player does leave then it won’t be for nothing,’ Rodgers said.

‘He came here for an astronomical fee which was no fault of his own, so we will see what happens in the summer.’

Rodgers admires the robust qualities that Carroll can bring to a team, but hinted that he may struggle to accommodate a player of his type in his future vision for Liverpool.

'Astronomical': Rodgers saysthe huge fee paid for Carroll by Kenny Dalglish was not the player's fault

'Astronomical': Rodgers saysthe huge fee paid for Carroll by Kenny Dalglish was not the player's fault

‘Every player it is about the style, and how they fit into that. If you look at Luis Suarez he has flourished this season in the roaming role we have given him.

'We are a team that is set up to exploit his qualities,’ Rodgers added.

‘Likewise for other players you may have to set up in a certain way to get the best out of them.

There is no doubt Andy has qualities – some of his goals from set plays with West Ham have proven that.’

Out the door: Carroll played 44 times in the Premier League for Liverpool before moving on loan to West Ham

Out the door: Carroll played 44 times in the Premier League for Liverpool before moving on loan to West Ham

Big Sam has big plans for Hammers, but new rules could mean it takes a while…

Big Sam has big plans for Hammers, but new rules could mean it takes a while…

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

21:03 GMT, 5 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:03 GMT, 5 April 2013

Sam Allardyce has declared his desire to build the ‘best ever’ West Ham team – but warned supporters that Financial Fair Play rules mean it will be a long process.

Allardyce, in negotiations over the finer details of a new three-year contract, is already contemplating the calibre of player required when the club move into the 54,000-seat Olympic Stadium in 2016. But, he says, vast improvements will not come rapidly.

To the skies: Allardyce has big plans for West Ham, but holds fears at the same time

To the skies: Allardyce has big plans for West Ham, but holds fears at the same time

The West Ham boss, who was yesterday sporting four stitches above a bruised right eye after falling into a marble work surface at home, said: ‘There is a big motivation for everybody to get West Ham to be the biggest club it’s ever been.

'When you’ve decided to move into a fantastic venue the size of the Olympic Stadium, that demands you try and get the best you possibly can.’

But he added: ‘The days of huge money thrown at transfers look like they might be restricted. So the growth of West Ham might not be as quick as we would all like.

Grounds for optimism: The Hammers' move to the Olympic Stadium has brought new hope for the future

Grounds for optimism: The Hammers' move to the Olympic Stadium has brought new hope for the future

Grounds for optimism: The Hammers' move to the Olympic Stadium has brought new hope for the future

'Certainly me. We have to be very aware that we might not be able to be as free spending as perhaps we’d want.’

Premier League rules, voted in earlier this year, will limit the total amount of television money clubs can spend on players’ wages to 60million by 2016, as well as capping losses at 105million for three-year cycles.

Allardyce added: ‘What we’re telling the fans now is that it might be a problem, because we can’t spend it (the TV money).

'We’re not allowed to. In the end the fans will take a while to understand that. I certainly know the players and the agents will.’

Tenure: Allardyce has been in charge at West Ham since June 2011

Tenure: Allardyce has been in charge at West Ham since June 2011, and hopes for a healthy future at the club

Sam Allardyce confirms he wants to keep Andy Carroll at Upton Park after two-goal display

I want him to stay: Allardyce confirms desire to keep Carroll at Upton Park after his two-goal display against West Brom

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

19:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:50 GMT, 30 March 2013

Sam Allardyce cautiously underlined his desire to keep Andy Carroll at Upton Park next season after watching the striker fire West Ham to a vital 3-1 victory over West Brom.

Carroll has endured a difficult time in east London since he arrived on loan from Liverpool last summer, but he looked back to his menacing best today, scoring a fine brace which eased any lingering fears of relegation for Allardyce's men.

The 24-year-old fired a bullet header past Ben Foster to put West Ham 1-0 up and he then sealed the victory with one of the goals of the season following Gary O'Neil's strike.

Flying : The on-loan striker celebrates his goal

Loan ranger: Carroll notched his third goal of the season with a thumping header

Carroll watched the ball come over his shoulder after James Collins had sent a long punt up field and he volleyed past Foster with his right foot from a tight angle.

When asked whether he would like to retain the 6ft 3in striker's services next season, the West Ham manager said: 'The answer to that would be yes.

'There is always a possibility. We will look at the end of the season and we will se what negotiations can be done.'

Carroll's time in London has been blighted by injury, but he is now fully fit and judging by today's performance, it will only be a matter of time before he earns an international recall.

Opener: Carroll (centre) heads home O'Neil's cross to give West Ham the lead

In the air: Carroll headed home to give the Iron an early lead

Roy Hodgson omitted Carroll from his squad for the double-header against San Marino and Montenegro, but when the England manager comes to watch the footage of today's game at Upton Park, he will be impressed, Allardyce reckons.

'That was the best we have seen of him here,' Allardyce added.

'Because he has put two goals in, on top of a good performance.

'I hope this kicks him on to being a regular scorer for us in the next eight games.

'He is in a good frame of mind now and finally after a long wait his fitness is good and that's why you are seeing these performances and the goals are coming.'

West Ham are now two points short of the 38-point mark Allardyce thinks the club will need to avoid relegation.

Happy Hammers: West Ham players celebrate Carrol's early effort

Happy Hammers: West Ham now sit six points off the relegation zone with 36 points

The only disappointment for the West Ham boss today was the fact that he is likely to be without George McCartney for the rest of the season after he hobbled off with the same knee injury that had kept him out of the previous four months.

'I would have thought (he will miss the rest of the season),” Allardyce said of the left-back.

'It's a recurrence of the same injury, his medial ligaments, which is a very big disappointment for him and for us.

Downcast: Steve Clarke was disappointed with his side after the 3-1 defeat

Downcast: Steve Clarke was disappointed with his side after the 3-1 defeat

'That was the only downside for us today. Otherwise, it was a great day for us.

'It was a great performance and it takes us ever closer to that safety margin.'

West Brom were poor throughout
today's encounter. Aside from a deflected Romelu Lukaku free-kick in the
first half, Jussi Jaaskelainen barely had a save to make.

The only time the Baggies beat the Finn was three minutes from the end courtesy of a Graham Dorrans penalty.

West Brom boss Steve Clarke said: 'I can have no complaints about the result. West Ham deserved to win.

'It was a difficult afternoon but we haven't had too many of those this season.'

Clarke will speak to Youssouf Mulumbu tomorrow about his red card for petulantly kicking the ball at O'Neil in injury time.

'I said to the group after the game that they must control their frustrations,' the Scot said.

'It doesn't affect today's game but it affects our group and our squad and the next three games.
“We have a small group and it's a big loss for us.

'The time to speak about it is tomorrow. He probably did it out of frustration.'

Wilfried Bony chased by West Ham, Fulham, Stoke and Everton

Trio of Premier League sides join West Ham in race for 12m-rated Ivorian hitman Bony

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

23:00 GMT, 24 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:20 GMT, 25 March 2013

Premier League clubs are bettling each other race to sign scoring sensation Wilfried Bony, who is pushing for a move to the English top flight next season.

The Ivory Coast striker, rated at around 12million, has been in prolific from for Vitesse Arnhem this season and is the top scorer in Holland with 26 goals in 24 league games.

His contract runs until 2015 but Sportsmail understands his agent is in talks with at least four Premier League clubs — West Ham, Fulham, Stoke and Everton — and hopes to complete a deal by the end of the week.

Strike rate: Bony (right), seen here in action for Ivory Coast, has scored 26 goals in 24 games this term

Strike rate: Bony (right), seen here in action for Ivory Coast, has scored 26 goals in 24 games this term

Eredivisie: Top 5

The 24-year-old tried to leave Vitesse
in January, but the club held firm and insisted he continued to help
the club push for a Champions League spot for next season.

Since his 4million move from Sparta
Prague at the beginning of 2011, Bony has scored 46 times in 63
appearances for Vitesse — including an amazing recent run which has seen
him net 10 goals in his last six games.

Were West Ham to land him for around
12m it would smash their previous transfer record of buying Matt Jarvis
from Wolves for 10.75m.

Bony learned the game by playing
street football called ‘Maracana’, competing in city competitions before
spending three years at the Cyrille Domoraud football Academy located
in the city of Bingerville, in south-east Ivory Coast.

Options: Sam Allardyce will be looking for more firepower, with his side netting just 32 goals this season

Options: Sam Allardyce will be looking for more firepower, with his side netting just 32 goals this season

Kevin Nolan broken foot: West Ham captain faces to months out

Hammer blow! Crocked skipper Nolan faces eight weeks out with broken toe

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

08:40 GMT, 28 February 2013

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UPDATED:

16:14 GMT, 28 February 2013

West Ham have been dealt a huge blow with the news that captain Kevin Nolan faces two months on the sidelines after suffering a broken toe.

The midfielder, 30, limped off after just 35 minutes during Monday night's 3-2 London derby defeat by Tottenham at Upton Park following a clash with Mousa Dembele.

Nolan now faces an agonising wait to discover his fate after Hammers assistant boss Neil McDonald confirmed this morning that the club have not yet learned the results of his scan.

Tough luck: Kevin Nolan (left) tackles Emmanuel Adebayor of Tottenham before going off injured

Tough luck: Kevin Nolan (left) tackles Emmanuel Adebayor of Tottenham before going off injured

The former Bolton and Newcastle star will definitely miss this
weekend's Barclays Premier League trip to Stoke and it is reported, by
The Sun, that he may have to wait for two weeks to find out if he can
make it through the rest of the campaign with
pain-killing injections.

McDonald said: 'We're still waiting for the results to come back, his toe is very, very sore.

'He's had problems in the past with it, all season really. And he got a real good kick on it.

'So I'd imagine he won't be available for Saturday and then we'll see how the results come back and see where he's at.

'As I said, he has had problems with his foot all season, and he has been playing through the pain barrier. It's probably worse than it has been with him having the kick right on it.'

Despite a fine start to the season,
the east London club's form has suffered an alarming slump with just one
win in their last seven league games.

Sam Allardyce's side, who promotion
from the Championship at the first time of asking last season, have
slipped to 14th in the table and are just six points clear from the drop
zone.

But defender James Collins insists relegation has not been mentioned.

We are looking up and onwards,' the Wales centre half told the club's official website.

'There are more tough matches coming
up, but we have a great squad and great team spirit. We have to go to
Stoke and give it a good go and I feel we have more than enough in the
team to do that.

'The way we started the season showed
what we are capable of. We are training hard, we want to win every game
and that is no different against Stoke, who we know will be tough on
their own ground.

'But I strongly believe if we keep playing the way we are playing, the results will come.'

Getting involved: Nolan is an important player for the Hammers and now faces missing many of their remaining fixtures

Getting involved: Nolan is an important player for the Hammers and now faces missing many of their remaining fixtures

Aston Villa v West Ham live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Aston Villa v West Ham – as it happens from Villa Park

for their last triumph on the road.

Villa will be desperate for three points in their bid to escape the clutches of the bottom three but they will also be keen to avoid a repeat of their clash with the east London side from earlier in the season when Sam Allardyce's side recorded a 1-0 win at Upton Park to start the 2012/13 campaign.

Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Half-time: Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham

45+2min: Carroll has lacked service so far, despite West Ham winning a number of free-kicks, and his frustration in the first 45 minutes is summed up by one wild left foot swing from 25 yards that flies well off target.

45+1min: There will be four minutes added on.

44min: The first booking of the afternoon goes to West Ham's Emmanuel Pogatetz after the defender chops down Charles N'Zogbia to bring an immediate half to an Aston Villa counter attack.

42min: After a spell of West Ham pressure, Villa are once more looking the more likely to score. But as we approach half-time, all the goalmouth action has taken place inside the first 120 seconds.

39min: I thought it would be West Ham who would be closer to scoring from set-pieces but Villa nearly score from one of their own. A corner to the near post finds Ron Vlaar, whose half-volley on to the greasy surface bounces a yard over the bar.

37min: Terrific defending from Clark. West Ham do well to find Demel in space on the right, and his low cross is destined for an unmarked Joe Cole in the centre before the Villa defender gets a vital touch on the slide to intercept and allow Guzan to gather.

35min: The last five minutes have seen West Ham come back into this game, but despite winning a couple of free-kicks, the Villa defence has coped comfortably with Guzan keen to come off his line to punch clear any aerial bombardment.

32min: Another sign of the threat Carroll possesses as the striker wins a header inside the Villa box from a cross. The striker is off balance though and his effort loops comfortably into Guzan's arms.

30min: A rare charge forward from West Ham, and it comes form a neat passing exchange on the ground too as Matty Taylor releases Mohamed Diame down the left wing into the penalty box.

From there though it very quickly falls apart as the midfielder blasts a low cross into the near post side netting. Huge waste.

27min: Villa are starting to gain more control in this game but every time they get near the West Ham box there are a wall of bodies denying them a shot on goal. The Hammers are struggling to get out of their own half.

24min: With O'Brien's day done, Guy Demel has come on for the Hammers.

23min: This is turning into a war of attrition. Joey O'Brien has limped off the pitch for West Ham while Tomkins takes an accidental boot to the face from Delph after making a superb sliding tackle on the touchline. The West Ham medical team are making sure he still has all of his teeth after that one.

20min: The game has stopped momentarily as Baker receives more attention as blood starts to seep out of his Vaseline covered head following that earlier clash with Carroll.

Meanwhile the home fans as usual applaud in unison in the 19th minute to observe club captain, Stiliyan Petrov's battle against illness.

18min: Good footwork from Fabian Delph sees him dodge a couple of challenges in the West Ham half before he wins a free-kick 35 yards out. The ball is swung towards the back post but Benteke heads the difficult chance wide.

16min: It's been a nervous affair so far. West Ham remain content with a more direct playing style while Villa for all their effort just lack quality trying to pierce the West Ham backline.

13min: From InfostradaLive:

West Ham United have scored three opening goals in their away PL matches this season, together with Wigan, Norwich and Fulham least of all clubs. Villa have scored the opener in four of their home matches this PL season, only QPR (2) have less.

Miss of the season Andreas Weimann reacts after missing a golden opportunity to open the scoring for Villa

Miss of the season Andreas Weimann reacts after missing a golden opportunity to open the scoring for Villa

10min: James Tomkins produces a neat sliding tackle to deny Weimann a chance to cross from inside the box and Villa win their first corner.

It's cleared but shortly after winning a second corner, Nathan Baker and Carroll clash heads trying to head the ball and play has stopped for a minute or two while they receive treatment. Both look like they will be okay to continue once they stop seeing stars.

8min: Villa are showing the more attacking purpose so far but apart from that horror miss from Weimann ( I wonder what Darren Bent made of that on the sub's bench) we haven't seen any more chances.

5min: Otherwise it's a bright start from Villa who have controlled possession, but they do concede a free-kick in the centre-circle and you know what comes next.

West Ham pump a long high ball into the box for Andy Carroll, who wins a flick on and pounces on a loose ball to loop a shot just over Brad Guzan's crossbar.

2min: Miss of the season, there I said it! It's a horrible moment all round as Christian Benteke's low shot towards the near post from 20 yards is ludicrously fumbled by West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, only for Andreas Weimann to somehow place the rebound wide of the post with an open goal staring him in the face.

1min: From OptaJoe:

1 – West Ham have taken one point from the last 21 available on the road, scoring just five in their last nine PL away games. Travels.

Kick-off: Villa get us going.

Greetings: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce (left) and his opposite Aston Villa number, Paul Lambert shake hands before kick-off

Greetings: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce (left) and his opposite Aston Villa number, Paul Lambert shake hands before kick-off

13.27: Out come the players and speaking of claret and blue there are many empty seats inside Villa Park.

13.24: The players are in the tunnel with Aston Villa standing in claret and blue opposite West Ham…who are also in claret and blue.

The Hammers are in their more blue based away kit but this could hurt my eyes.

13.19: From InfostradaLive:

West Ham have failed to win in their last five PL visits to Villa Park, failing to score on four occasions. Their only victory in the last 14 visits was in January 2006 (2-1) when Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood (penalty) scored. Lee Hendrie netted for Villa.

13.14: We know about Villa's troubles this term but what happened the last time they went down Sadly the team of 1987 share many similarities with Paul Lambert's strugglers from this season as I found out here.

13.09: Gabriel Agbonlahor is ruled out through illness by the way. Still though it says much about Paul Lambert's faith in Darren Bent that he picks a forward who cost 23.4m less in his starting XI over him. At least Villa have some sort of firepower on the bench though.

Team news

Team news

13.06: Full line-ups from Villa Park:

Aston Villa v West Ham
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Weimann, Westwood, Delph, Bowery, N'Zogbia, Benteke. Subs: Given, Bent, Holman, Sylla, Dawkins, Bannan, Bennett.

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Reid, Tomkins, Pogatetz, Noble, Diame, Nolan, Taylor, Joe Cole, Carroll. Subs: Spiegel, Jarvis, Carlton Cole, Vaz Te, Demel, Chamakh, O'Neil.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

13.03: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert hands a first Barclays Premier League start to striker Jordan Bowery, a 600,000 summer signing from Chesterfield, against West Ham at Villa Park.

Midfielder Fabian Delph, who has recovered from an ankle injury, and left-back Nathan Baker are recalled as Villa looked to end a run of eight league games without a win.

On-loan Wolfsburg defender Emanuel Pogatetz is given a first start by Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, with Joe Cole also brought back into the starting line-up.

Main threat: West Ham will rely on their on-loan striker Andy Carroll in attack

Main threat: West Ham will rely on their on-loan striker Andy Carroll in attack

13.00: From OptaJoe:

2 – Aston Villa have scored just two goals in their last seven Premier League matches at Villa Park. Shy.

12.57: If there is one avenue we can see West Ham scoring from today, it is through set-pieces. Judging by Aston Villa's poor record at defending them it seems a West Ham corner + Andy Carroll's headers = goals.

Villa captain Ron Vlaar claims though that he and his teammates are aware of their set-piece struggles and targeting to put things right.

12.54: Sadly of course the big talking point this morning is not about the football but about Paul Gascoigne who has been rushed into intensive care in the USA.

The former England international is said to be out of immediate danger but let's continue to hope Gazza can make a full recovery.

12.51: The Villa Park pitch looks very tidy this afternoon but the less said about the weather, the better. It's wet, cold and overcast in the West Midlands but I guess we shouldn't be too surprised – it is February folks.

12.48: Speaking of Manchester United they will attempt to go a dozen points clear at the top of the table when they take on Everton at 4pm. You can follow live coverage of that match from around 3.30pm with myself straight after the action here at Villa Park.

12.45: Yesterday's results have given Villa a big incentive to take three points today as it would see them climb out of the bottom three into 17th.

West Ham may reside in mid-table but on 30 points they are not quite out of the relegation fight. A win today though and they would be 12 points clear of the bottom three. If a gap like that would be good enough for Manchester United, then I think Sam Allardyce's team would be content too.

Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Tomkins, Reid, Pogatetz, Noble, Diame, Nolan, J.Cole, Taylor, Carroll.

12.35: Aston Villa starting XI:

Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Westwood, Delph, N’Zogbia, Bowery, Weimann, Benteke.

12.30: Apart from Manchester United (and we will get to them in a minute) one of the big winners from yesterday were Aston Villa, who saw the majority of their rivals battling relegation fail to pick up any points.

That's not quite job done for Paul Lambert's side this weekend though. Sitting one place off the bottom of the table they need to start winning points of their own. Today they host West Ham – a side suspect on their travels this term. Team news coming up.

Sunday's opener: Aston Villa will hope to ease relegation fears when they host West Ham at Villa Park

Sunday's opener: Aston Villa will hope to ease relegation fears when they host West Ham at Villa Park

West Ham latest: Winston Reid agrees new two-year deal

Reid all about it! A good sign for West Ham as Toon target agrees new two-year deal

By
Simon Jones

PUBLISHED:

10:29 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 15 January 2013

EXCLUSIVE

Winston Reid has agreed a new two-year extension to his West Ham contract to see off interest from Barclays Premier League heavyweights, including Newcastle.

Reid, the Hammers' best player this season, was out of contract in the summer and that alerted top-flightt vultures.

But Sportsmail has learned West Ham have invoked a two-year extension clause in his deal and club sources will renegotiate further in the summer with the lure of a five-year deal.

Promising signs: New Zealand defender Winston Reid has agreed a new two-year deal with West Ham

Promising signs: New Zealand defender Winston Reid has agreed a new two-year deal with West Ham

So impressed have the east London club been with Reid, they want him to become an Upton Park stalwart.

'There was never any chance of us letting him go,' said a club insider. 'We want to build for the future and Winston has a key role to play going forward.'

New Zealand centre half Reid has become a popular figure at West Ham and is rated highly by manager Sam Allardyce, who has built his defensive strategy around him.

Reid, 24, moved to Denmark when he was 10 and received Danish citizenship but always wanted to play for his native New Zealand.

Fans' favourite: Winston Reid won the acclaim of Hammers supporters after his decisive goal against arch-rivals Millwall last season at Upton Park

Fans' favourite: Winston Reid won the acclaim of Hammers supporters after his decisive goal against arch-rivals Millwall last season at Upton Park

West Ham signed Reid from FC Midtjylland and he was a mainstay of their promotion season – and even scored an important goal against Millwall for which he is revered for by the fans.

He was rested for the third-round FA Cup draw with Manchester United but may return to the side for the replay with James Collins injured. It could see Reid up against Robin van Persie, the hottest striker in the Premier League.

West Ham sources believe this deal is a sign of their ambition as they look to build on the squad through the transfer window. The club are looking for a left back to join Reid in the back four.

Carlton Cole latest: Norwich and Reading want West Ham striker

Norwich and Reading set to battle it out for Cole with Hammers striker up grabs

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

10:51 GMT, 12 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 12 January 2013

Norwich and Reading have joined the race to sign Carlton Cole with West Ham reportedly ready to listen to offers for the striker.

The one-time England international, however, is determined to stay at Upton Park and was said to be disappointed when he learned of the club's plans to cash-in on him, according to the Daily Mirror.

Cole's contract expires this summer and West Ham have added Marouane Chamakh and Wellington Paulista to their growing contingent of on-loan strikers this month with Andy Carroll soon to be fit again.

Furious: Cole has been told he can leave the club

Furious: Cole has been told he can leave the club

Cole has scored twice in 19 games this season and manager Sam Allardyce prefers both Chamakh and Carroll, despite Carroll scoring just once in 14 games for the east Londoners.

The 29-year-old moved to Upton Park from Chelsea in 2006 after loan spells at Wolves, Charlton and Aston Villa.

West Ham have also been linked with Manchester City striker John Guidetti.

City are keen for him to gain Premier League experience but Southampton and Fiorentina are also interested in the 20-year-old striker.

Andy Carroll of West Ham United shows his frustration during the Barclays Premier League

Marouane Chamakh of West Ham United looks on ahead of the FA Cup with Budweiser Third Round

Options: Carroll (left) and Chamakh (right) have both joined the Hammers on loan