Sam Allardyce highlights one striker to play a big role against Manchester City

Sam Allardyce Press Conference 12/02/2014

Sam Allardyce has addressed the media ahead of West Ham United's game against Manchester City, and is expecting a big showing from Carlton Cole.

West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce is looking to Carlton Cole to play a 'big role' for his side when they make the trip to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City.

The Hammers are without their two leading goalscorers in Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho, but they do have Enner Valencia available for selection after recovering from a freak injury involving a tea cup.

Allardyce has acknowledged surprise at City's recent form which has seen them slump to fourth in the Premier League, and the game on Sunday lunchtime is a meeting between two sides struggling to establish late-season momentum.

He told reporters at his pre-match press conference, covered by the club’s official Twitter account: "I'm very surprised that Man City have lost four away games on the trot, based on the huge amount of talent they have but like ourselves they can't find a way to win at the moment.

"Our strike force consists of Carlton and Enner at the moment so those two guys have to perform to their very best."

As Allardyce acknowledged that the Hammers have struggled for wins lately - with their latest setback coming as a result of a late Stoke City equaliser last weekend.

After a promising start to the season, things seem to have fizzled out, but the Hammers boss is still hopeful of a strong finish to the campaign and hitting the 50-point mark.

West Ham currently sit on 43 points in ninth place but their position in the top half is under threat, with Crystal Palace's recent good run of form putting them just a point behind them in 11th place, with Stoke City sandwiched in the middle.

Big Sam added: "We want to hit the 50 point mark or better. That will ensure we finish higher in the Premier League than we have done since promotion.

"Late goals have been a terrible thing in terms of results for us. We were 30 seconds away from winning against Stoke and didn't.

"We got nervous and made basic mistakes. We could have eased that pressure by retaining possession better."

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