West Ham latest: No Christmas party, but Big Sam wants January gift

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Under-fire captain Kevin Nolan has apologised for his red card in last weekend's 4-1 loss at Liverpool. Hammers skipper Nolan was sent off for a late challenge from behind on Reds midfielder Jordan Henderson, and the former Bolton man has admitted that he will be working had to make up for his error.

"It was a silly tackle and stupid of me. I'm really disappointed in myself but I am sorry for that, I apologised to all the lads as well. I'll be working hard on the training ground. I'm certainly not getting away with it. I'll be in on Wednesday while all the other lads are off. Hopefully the lads can get the right results without me and I can come in and add some goals and some better performances."

Nolan has again hit the headlines though, as he cancelled West Ham's Christmas party as the team "has nothing to celebrate". The 4-1 thumping at Anfield dragged West Ham right into the relegation dogfight, and the rest of the squad agreed that they shouldn't be celebrating whilst the team struggles to pick up points.

A player who is particularly struggling is striker Modibo Maiga, who has been thrust into the starting line up in Andy Carroll's absence. Despite being a hard worker, Maiga has failed to find the back on the net this season and has come under pressure from Hammers fans, but manager Sam Allardyce has praised the Malian frontman.

"Modibo Maiga hasn't scored a goal and that's what they see. That's what they want a centre forward to do," he said. "He was very, very good against Fulham and I think the fans will be intelligent enough to have seen that. Fans pick on people on their own team across the board at every team I've played for and managed. They pick someone out they don't like. The only thing we can do is support the player to change opinion and show that's not the case. You have to blank it out, deal with it, just play your best and focus on the team. Play well and score a goal, then everything changes."

With Maiga struggling to score goals, Allardyce looks to be targeting a striker in the January transfer window, a new name to be linked with a move to Upton Park is Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins. The former Inter Milan striker was brought to St. James' Park by then-Newcastle manager Allardyce, and could be on for a reunion. The Seattle Sounders man may be allowed to leave on loan with the MLS season over, and he could provide the spark to haul West Ham away from danger. 

image: © carlos_rm

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