Belfast Telegraph

Allardyce ready to unleash Valencia

Sam Allardyce is ready to unleash Enner Valencia in the Barclays Premier League - starting with Hull on Monday night.

The 25-year-old is one of nine new recruits at West Ham but Ecuador's World Cup goal-getter has yet to start for the Hammers in the league.

Allardyce has used him sparingly following his efforts in Brazil, although he did play every minute of the second round Capital One Cup exit to Sheffield United - missing the penalty which ultimately saw the Blades prevail.

After once again travelling away with Ecuador during the international break, he scored in a 4-0 win against Bolivia and played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Brazil.

Now he returns to a West Ham side still missing injured club-record signing Andy Carroll and Allardyce could pass the goalscoring responsibilities to the former Pachuca man.

"Yes, I think so," he said when asked if Valencia was ready to start at the KC Stadium.

"He's ready to get the opportunity to go and play. He scored against Bolivia and hopefully he will start scoring for us very shortly.

"It will be great once he gets out there and produces what he did at the World Cup. It's the goal threat we really need more of this season.

"He's one of our major signings and we hope he is going to be very successful."

With Carroll absent and only Carlton Cole as back-up, Allardyce strengthened not only with Valencia but with Mauro Zarate and Diafra Sakho - who have both got off the mark since their summer arrivals - and the Hammers boss is excited with his options.

"Sakho, Valencia, Zarate and Carroll is a good variation for me to start selecting from," he said. "Then there is competition for places.

"How do you keep the position? By doing what we expect and that's contributing in the build-up as well as in the critical position of finishing the chances we create. We want to get to 50 goals this year.

"We need these players that we bought to produce the goals at this level like they have produced elsewhere."

Monday's opponents Hull have also been busy in the transfer market, with West Ham's Mohamed Diame added on deadline day.

Valencia is ready to take on the new-look Tigers after another chance to link up with his international team-mates.

"We had two games in America over the week and they were both of high intensity," he said.

"It was good to play again after some weeks of not playing full games. It's good to get minutes to get fit, to get my match fitness back as soon as possible and then show that for West Ham.

"It's a very important game for the club. I'm ready to play if the manager wants me to. It will be a tough game but an important one for us to keep earning points and moving up the table."

"All the teams are very strong in the Premier League this season, no matter who they are. They made some good signings over the summer, but the most important thing is that we focus on ourselves and try to take the three points back to London."


From Belfast Telegraph