sport

Allardyce has break plans

West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce would rather not be enjoying a week off, but plans to put an enforced break to good use.

The Hammers were due to entertain Hull City at Upton Park in their next Premier League outing, but the Tigers' involvement in the FA Cup quarter-finals has forced a rescheduling.

West Ham will now be restricted to a spectator role this weekend as league and cup competition takes centre stage.

Allardyce will cut a frustrated figure as he watches on from afar, but hopes an extended spell on the training ground will have his side raring to go by the time an opportunity to get a 1-0 defeat at Everton out of their system comes around.

He said on the club's official website: "We'd have liked to have another game, which would have been our chance to overcome the Everton defeat and get another victory.

"We have to be patient. Everybody's going to get fitter and they'll be able to get ready and excited for the away game at Stoke City.

"The players are all very disappointed that we have lost our undefeated run but Everton are a good side and we just got slaughtered when we played there last season and were fortunate to come away with a 2-0 defeat.

"On Saturday we were very close to getting a point and the only disappointment was our final third play wasn't good enough to cause Everton the problems that we should have done."

While happy enough with how his side have been faring of late, Allardyce will use the coming week to try and increase competition for places within his squad - with the likes of Andy Carroll, Winston Reid, Joe Cole and Jack Collison set to be offered a chance to catch the eye.

The Hammers boss added: "The lads will have a few days off with their families as they can't get any fitter than they are at the minute. They are in a good frame of mind at the moment.

"We're disappointed now but we've got to get over that and make sure that we've got the confidence and the energy and the belief to play the next game when it comes around.

"Andy Carroll has been constant in training terms but it's match fitness that we need to help him with.

"If anybody needed a game next week it would be Andy but we've got to wait a couple of weeks before we can get him fit again. We may fit in a behind-closed doors game for him and some of the other squad players that might not have been playing so much recently."