Sport Soccer

Saturday 20 September 2014

Allardyce backed by Collins

Published 03/07/2014 | 15:02

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James Collins, pictured, is pleased Sam Allardyce is staying on at Upton Park

James Collins believes the decision not to replace manager Sam Allardyce in the summer will be massively important for West Ham heading into the new season.

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Speculation was rife that Allardyce, 59, was on borrowed time with the club's owners after the previous campaign was tinged with periods of disappointment.

Having led the Hammers to a top-half finish in 2012/13, Allardyce oversaw a barren run over the turn of the year and reacted angrily when his side were jeered off the pitch following a home win over Hull towards the end of the season, with many supporters questioning his style of play.

Despite those issues, as well as banners being unfurled and opinion polls being held calling for his head, co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold have stuck by Allardyce, something Collins feels will stand the club in good stead.

"It is great," the Wales international told Press Association Sport.

"As soon as the news came out over the summer the lads were delighted. He has done well for the last two years, we weren't too happy last season but we finished 13th in the end.

"He is so good, he sets out a plan for the whole season and how many points we need to finish as high as we can and improve on last year.

"The first couple of years is always tough - you see teams stay up in the first season and struggle in the second year. Last year we weren't too happy but a lot of teams would have taken that.

"We are looking to kick on this year, the gaffer has already brought in a couple of new signings and I'm sure there will be more.

"Not once has the gaffer ever told us to play direct. It is about winning football matches, before every game he works out the best way to win and that is how we go out and play."

Collins was speaking on the first day of pre-season training, with new signings Mauro Zarate and Cheikhou Koutate joined at West Ham's Chadwell Heath training base by the likes of Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll and Ravel Morrison, who is back with the Hammers having spent the back end of last season on-loan at QPR.

A left-back is believed to be Allardyce's next target, with Ipswich's Aaron Cresswell rumoured to be on the brink of a move to east London, and Collins wants to keep up the good work from the West Ham defensive unit.

"Defensively we did alright last season," he added.

"We had 14 clean sheets so like the gaffer has said we need to concentrate on scoring more goals - that is why he has brought in Teddy (Sheringham) to improve us in the attacking half so hopefully we can score more goals and get off to a better start.

"We (the defenders) have all been here a while now and know each other's game very well so whoever is asked to play knows what is expected of them - it is a great group of lads so hopefully we can start off well and kick on from there."

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