Sport Soccer

Monday 11 December 2017

Pride the spur as Hammers eye new players

John Heitinga
John Heitinga

Jack Pitt-Brooke

The prospect of not reaching the League Cup final, of yet another home defeat, or even of a mauling from Manchester City tonight are not Sam Allardyce's main worries at the moment.

The West Ham manager admitted yesterday that his team were "highly, highly unlikely" to overturn their 6-0 first-leg deficit and book their place at Wembley for the March 2 final.

Allardyce's ambitions for the night are more realistic. "It is about playing a game at home and trying to win it," he said. "You play for pride, to try to get a result. Hopefully we can give City a really tough game and try to get something out of it."

But the importance of this week to West Ham's season, even to their future, goes far beyond tonight's events at Upton Park. They are separated from the bottom of the Premier League table by goal difference alone and in desperate need of reinforcements. The transfer window is where West Ham's 2014 will be decided.

"Frustrated is an understatement," said Allardyce as he described how he has found it so far. "The amount of offers and deals that we have tried to secure in the last six to eight weeks... everyone is frustrated, but our need is greater than everyone else's."

Allardyce has been trying to convince Ravel Morrison to sign a new contact, without much success, and admitted that the 20-year-old midfielder - one of his best players this season - wanted to join Fulham.

"This window creates a hysteria about the fact that people will tell you that somebody is going to come and get you. That could then turn your head, probably based on the money that people say you're going to make," said Allardyce, who described Fulham's opening offer as "derisory".

The Hammers were close to signing Everton defender Johnny Heitinga but that fell through, and now Everton are about to take Ivory Coast striker Lacina Traoré on loan from Monaco after West Ham secured a work permit for him. (© Independent News Service)



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