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Allardyce: Return date for crocked Hammers ‘like drawing a rabbit out of the hat’

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce. Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images West Ham manager Sam Allardyce. Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Sunday, December 29, 2013
7:29 AM

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce said his side are paying the price for an extensive injury list but admits he needs to get his crocked players fit as soon as possible to turn their luck around.

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The Hammers boss saw his side concede three times in a six-goal thriller against West Brom at Upton Park yesterday that leave them rooted in the Premier League drop zone.

Ravel Morrison, Ricardo Vaz Te, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Mladen Petric are also missing for the Hammers, while central defensive duo James Collins and Winston Reid have also been sidelined.

“It is like drawing a rabbit out of the hat at the minute for me,” Allardyce said when asked about possible return dates for his crocked players.

“Every day and every week goes by and we have got to get them all fit as quickly as we can, it has been weeks and weeks and weeks for too many of our players.

“That is why we are paying the price at the moment, we used to be great at keeping clean sheets but because of our defensive problems we are finding it hard to do that.

“Finally we have scored three goals at home and we haven’t won the game but that is no real fault for the players who played today.”

Allardyce would have winced when he saw James Tomkins forced off yesterday after just 10 minutes with a groin complaint.

His side remedied their lack of home goals, which stood at an average of one goal in their previous nine league home encounters before the arrival of the Baggies.

But when Guy Demel replaced Tomkins, leaving West Ham with no recognised central defender on the pitch, Allardyce felt that cost his side a crucial three points.

“You try and defend with two full-backs playing centre-half,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is it is not their positions and where it is not their positions and you are playing against the [Nicolas] Anelkas of the world.

“At the end of the day that is nobody’s fault if you are overpowered by the opposition’s players. If we had our full quota of defenders fit we would have won.”

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