sport

Taylor: Hammers must concentrate

West Ham's Matthew Taylor believes focus needs to remain on the club's current plight and has urged his team-mates not to be distracted.

The Hammers currently sit 17th in the Barclays Premier League with only goal difference keeping them out of the relegation zone.

Bottom club Sunderland are the visitors to Upton Park on Saturday afternoon with West Ham no doubt keen to add to the three league wins they have managed so far this campaign.

A defeat could see Sam Allardyce's side drop as low as 19th by the end of the weekend and, although former England Under-21 international Taylor is expecting a stern test, he feels the squad are ready to turn things around.

"There's no point in beating around the bush, we need three points at home," he said.

"Sunderland obviously are going to need three points as well so I'm sure it will be a good game. The manager has been very vocal with us in that we need to get back to getting the basics right and earning the right to play.

"There are no easy games in the Premier League and Saturday will be another difficult one. We need to concentrate on what we're doing in house first, and if we can get that correct, it will go a long way to securing a positive result for us.

"Experience counts for a lot in these situations, but you can't get caught up in the media frenzy that surrounds the game. We need to concentrate on ourselves and a lot of it boils down to can anybody who is playing, play better than their opposite number.

"If you can do so and make less mistakes than they do, you have a great chance of winning the game."

Allardyce insisted on Thursday that he is not currently fearing the sack but the 59-year-old knows just how important a win on Saturday would be for everyone involved with West Ham.

"Sunderland is another massive game for us," he said.

"It is another massive three points that we need to make sure we stay in touch with the people above us. That makes it a critical game for both teams.

"Both teams need to win, that's what you need to do and I presume that listening to &91;Sunderland manager&93; Gus Poyet's quotes that it is also their objective. They've got to start winning somewhere along the line, as have we - we need to start winning more games."

The job of sealing what could prove to be a pivotal three points will be made much harder for the Hammers due to their ever-increasing injury list.

Captain Kevin Nolan will miss out through suspension while up to eight other players could be absent with various injuries, something Allardyce could do without ahead of a busy Christmas period.

He added: "We're not in a great place for selection purposes particularly with this December programme we've got, with Wednesday as well as Saturday and then Manchester United the following Saturday.

"It is a difficult period for us and we all know what position we are in with results. The lads who are available need to step up to the plate and try and do the business."

Big-money summer arrivals Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing are definitely out, as are the likes of Winston Reid, Ricardo Vaz Te, Mladen Petric and Alou Diarra.

James Collins and Guy Demel have been ill but could be in contention while the returns of James Tomkins and Ravel Morrison have come at a crucial time for Allardyce as he looks to get West Ham's season back on track.