West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce has expressed concern over the state of his squad ahead of the FA Cup game against Everton this evening.
The Hammers are likely to see three players depart for the Africa Cup of Nations, which leaves Allardyce’s first team affected and the progress the side has made over the first half of the season threatened.
West Ham have looked like a side likely to be in and around the top six for most of the season, but the worry for Allardyce will be how his side reacts to having a small squad over the next few weeks.
“The only sad thing is that if we had played up to Monday night we would have had our Africa Cup of Nations players available,” he told the West Ham website.
“The rest of the squad is hopefully available - it's a bit thin now that we've lost those three players, but hopefully the lads will continue the good form they've shown.”
West Ham have momentum and the boss has the advantage of being able to play on a confidence and positive mentality, which hasn’t always existed around Upton Park when he’s been in charge.
The FA Cup represents a good chance for West Ham to try and win some silverware this season and the boss will be determined for his players to try and make the most of the extra recovery time they’ve had ahead of the game this evening.
“Playing this game on the Tuesday has given the players recovery time. You looked at some of the games at the weekend and Championship and lower league clubs didn't play on New Year's Day, whereas some Premier League teams had less than 48 hours before they had to go again.”
West Ham have the edge over Everton domestically in terms of their league position and their defensive stats, which will give the side hope that they can pull off a victory at a ground which is never easy to travel away to.
Despite the loss of players to the ACON, Allardyce couldn’t be more positive with how his side have prepared for the game. There are no excuses.