Belfast Telegraph

Allardyce predicts a brighter future this time around

By Mark Bryans

Sam Allardyce has put the trials and tribulations of last year behind him as he targets a top-10 Premier League finish this campaign. The 59-year-old survived calls for his sacking as the Hammers struggled for form during periods of the 2013-14 season, with fans unfurling banners and jeering the players off following an unconvincing home win over Hull.

A chronic injury list, including club-record signing Andy Carroll missing over half of the season, did not help Allardyce's position as he guided West Ham to 13th after flirting with relegation at the turn of the year.

Co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold opted to stick with the former Newcastle, Blackburn and Bolton boss after a number of post-season meetings and now Allardyce is keen to move forward.

"They are all behind me," he said when asked about last season's problems.

"I don't think about it too much. I'm still here and still using the experience and the abilities I have as a manager in all areas of the football club to try and achieve more than last season – I'm hoping the lads will go and do the talking on the field starting on Saturday."

With Allardyce having led the club back into the Premier League at the first time of asking, West Ham finished the 2012-13 campaign in an impressive 10th place.

Although Carroll is once again sidelined for up to four months, Allardyce wants to replicate that achievement this time around.

"I would take 10th or better – I think we have got to aim at least at that position," he said.

"If we score more goals than last season then it is achievable for us. We scored 40 goals last year, 46 the year before, so if we can hit the 50-goal mark I think that will be enough to take us into the top 10 or better."

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