Belfast Telegraph

Allardyce sticking to his guns

Sam Allardyce will tell his West Ham team to adapt but not abandon their dynamic attacking style should Andy Carroll once again lead the front line at Everton.

Diafra Sakho, who had netted six goals to help West Ham climb to fourth in the Barclays Premier League, is a major doubt for Saturday's trip to Merseyside after suffering a back problem while away on international duty with Senegal.

Carroll looked lively when coming on as a late substitute in the goalless draw against Aston Villa, his first appearance since recovering from pre-season ankle surgery, and almost scored a winner with a late header.

The 6ft 3in forward offers a different focal point for the Hammers, but Allardyce insists that in itself will not necessarily mean switching to a more direct style.

"We play slightly differently, in that we play more into Andy's feet than we do into (Enner) Valencia or Sakho," said the West Ham manager.

"Valencia and Sakho are so pacy that we are a massive threat in behind the opposition when the midfield players like (Mark) Noble, (Alex) Song or (Stewart) Downing start sliding balls down the side of defenders, that has been a really big threat for us and on the back of that we have scored goals.

"Whereas Andy is not such a big a threat in that area, he is a much bigger threat in terms of setting up attacks to get into the final third by playing into his feet or chest and not playing into his head.

"No way do I tell a player to just knock it up to Andy's head. I don't want them to knock it up to Andy's head, I want them to be talented enough to knock it into Andy's feet or chest.

"We want it on Andy's head when it is getting crossed into the box because that is where he is at his best and where he can score a lot of goals, as Sakho has proved this season.

"I think we have scored more headed goals than anybody else, even without Andy Carroll."

Everton have started to slowly build some momentum following an indifferent start to the campaign, and are unbeaten in six though all competitions since losing at Manchester United on October 5.

Allardyce is wary of just how dangerous Roberto Martinez's compact side can be.

"We have to be aware and stop the service they give to the forwards, then when you have possession you have to make sure you use it correctly and exploit the spaces they do leave," he said.

"A key part for us will be trying to make sure we limit Everton's attacks by stopping those players like Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines, if he is fit, because they are very good at going forward with the ball."

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