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Big Sam out to keep up unbeaten run in Toon

West HAM boss Sam Allardyce will treat today's trip to former club Newcastle the same as any other Premier League game as he looks to continue his recent fine form against the Magpies.

The 58-year-old had an eight-month spell in charge at St James' Park but was sacked in January 2008 following Mike Ashley's takeover of the club, with Newcastle 11th in the league at the time. Since then, with both Blackburn and West Ham, Allardyce is unbeaten when he has come up against Newcastle, including a 1-0 win on Tyneside last season with Kevin Nolan scoring the only goal against his former club.

The upcoming fixture would have carried extra significance for Allardyce in the past but now any lingering issues with his departure are forgotten.

"I've been back quite a few times," he said. "From my point of view, it's always been a very positive result whenever I've gone back.

"I haven't gone back and been beaten yet, so I want the lads to keep that record up for me if they can. It's a difficult place to go and a difficult place to get points."

DI CANIO RELISHES FIGHT

Defiant Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has struck back at critics quick to question his Stadium of Light revolution in the wake of his side's disappointing start to their new Premier League campaign.

The Black Cats head to Southampton today anxious to claim their first points of the new campaign after falling to Pajtim Kasami's second-half header in their opener against Fulham last week.

Di Canio knows he has yet to convince some after his wholesale summer changes – including an entire team full of new signings, a room-key lottery on away trips and bans on everything from Marmite to drinks with ice cubes.

Di Canio insisted: "I don't mind having people against me because it is very satisfying when you win at the end and prove them wrong.

"What is important is that you don't give up. Don't listen to the ones who keep putting the club down – they are like crows.

"Everyone should stay positive because we are going to have a very good season – I'm sure about that."

Di Canio completed his 11th new signing this week with the addition of Greek midfielder Charis Mavrias from Panathinaikos, although he is unlikely to feature in the Italian's plans to face the Saints.

TURNER RETURNS TO TIGERS

Norwich defender Michael Turner will put points before nostalgia when he returns to Hull for an encounter between two of the Premier League's less fashionable clubs.

Turner spent three years with Hull between 2006 and 2009, winning the official supporters' club player of the year award three times.

In the 2008-09 season he achieved the rare feat of playing every minute of every Premier League match for the East Yorkshire club.

So when he runs out at the KC Stadium it would be strange if he did not feel a warm glow of familiarity for a club which is close to his heart and for whom he scored 12 goals in 129 matches.

If he does then he will not show it. There is precious little room for sentiment in the Premier League. Turner said: "It's exciting for me to go back there. I had three very good years there. It's a big occasion for them, their first home game back in the Premier League. I kept my eyes open for Hull's results last year and I was delighted they got promoted.

"It will be nice to go back and see some old faces. I have some good memories but after a good performance against Everton we will be looking forward to getting some points. I'm going back there to win."


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