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Allardyce: We have to stop Lukaku

Published 15/05/2015

Romelu Lukaku has been singled out by West Ham boss Sam Allardyce
Romelu Lukaku has been singled out by West Ham boss Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce has placed West Ham's defence on alert for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at Upton Park.

Lukaku has scored twice already against the Hammers this season and Allardyce fears the threat he poses to his team's hopes of halting their slide down the table.

"We have to make sure we stop Lukaku because he always scores against us, that's something we have to do. He scores every time we play them," Allardyce said.

West Ham have two wins from their last 14 matches, leaving them in 10th place with 47 points having occupied the Champions League places at Christmas.

"We want to get over the 50-point mark. We're all hugely disappointed that we haven't managed it yet and we should have done it by now," Allardyce said.

"We could easily be in the mid 50s but due to a few lapses in concentration we're not quite there.

"Hopefully on Saturday the boys will go out and put the chances that we will create away. We want to win our last home game and try and to enjoy the game.

"We've been able to enjoy the majority of the season. We haven't brushed with relegation this season at all, not for a minute. We've scored more goals and got more points."

Meanwhile, Allardyce insists his West Ham future has yet to be decided with negotiations over a new contract beginning only once the season is finished.

Hammers owners David Sullivan and David Gold are reported to view Slaven Bilic and David Moyes as potential successors to Allardyce, whose contract expires this summer.

Allardyce is unpopular among supporters while the club's end of season slide down the Premier League table has done little to strengthen the 60-year-old's hand when talks begin.

"It was always going to be settled at the end of the season. Whether I'm staying or going, that hasn't been decided yet," Allardyce said on Thursday.

"Nearly two years ago when we finished 10th in the Premier League, I signed a contract on May 29, which was probably a good two weeks after the season had finished.

"At the end of this season we will sit down and negotiate. The outcome will be made known to everyone once those negotiations have finished.

"Speculation about the club not being happy with me or me not being happy with them is bound to happen."

Allardyce admits his desire to stay at Upton Park is dependent on him receiving a number of assurances.

"It depends on the contract. There's a lot of areas to negotiate, not just my contract but the staff, new players and the budget. As well as that it's about the direction we think we're going in," he said.

"We're going in the right direction, it's a question of how fast we want to move. All that needs to be discussed and agreed."

West Ham are likely to start Alex Song against Everton. Song made his comeback from a back injury as a substitute against Aston Villa and is in line to play the full 90 minutes.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez will gamble on his younger players should the side qualify for the early stages of the Europa League.

Saturday's match at West Ham is being billed as a decider for a place in Europe's second-tier tournament after England were awarded another place via the Fair Play League.

Liverpool top the table but as they are likely to earn their spot via their league position the Hammers and Everton, second and third respectively, are next in line.

Whoever gets the place faces the prospect of playing a competitive match on July 2, a time when the first-team squad will have barely returned from their summer break.

There is the added complication of pre-season preparations, with Everton due to play in the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore in mid-July, but Martinez is confident should his side qualify for the Europa League it will not affect his long-term planning as a number of the club's promising youngsters will be asked to step up.

"The Fair Play position is that there are two games to play and we will see where that will take us but I would welcome whatever comes our way," he said.

"All the younger players will be available to compete in the earlier rounds and it would show the good work we are doing behind the scenes with the youngsters.

"It would bring terrific experience and from that point on we would see how far we can progress.

"The preparations in pre-season wouldn't change for the first team.

"We are well-prepared either way; if we have a qualifying game at that point we have the team of a younger generation ready to face that and they would embrace that.

"We are talking about something that is not in front of us - but we have to put these things in place.``

Left-back Leighton Baines has been ruled out of Everton's final two matches after undergoing ankle surgery, so Luke Garbutt is likely to deputise at West Ham.

Midfielder Steven Pienaar is still not ready to return from a muscle injury so misses a fifth successive match, meaning Martinez will select from the same players - minus Baines - who lost at home to Sunderland last weekend.

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