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With West Ham’s Andy Carroll ruled out, the pressure is on Carlton Cole and Modibo Maiga to fill the void

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With Andy Carroll set to be out with injury until the new year, the pressure is on back-up strikers Carlton Cole and Modibo Maiga to step up to the plate and deliver the goods for West Ham.

And they will have a shot-shy Liverpool in their sights on Saturday, who will even be without the suspended Luis Suarez.

That is the opinion of manager Sam Allardyce and he would certainly have been delighted with both of them on Saturday as they hit the target in the Hammers stunning 3-1 victory over Chelsea at Upton Park.

“It is a blow to lose Andy, but Carlton Cole’s performance was good against Chelsea,” said Allardyce.

“The simple thing is when you play the ball to Carlton Cole, he has a very good game and that was the case against Chelsea even in the first half.

“If you are going to play it into him, he is causing the central defenders problems and then we can break off the midfield players and get players like Mo Diame into the game.”

Cole has had to wait his turn to shine for the Hammers and so has Maiga, but Allardyce now wants the striker to show what he is made of.

“Of course it was a huge confidence boost for Modibo Maiga coming on and scoring. We need him now more than ever before,” said the manager.

“We need him to adjust to the Premier League and both him and Carlton are going to be major players if we are to continue to stay in the top half.

“We have been in the top half this season from the very first whistle up to this stage and that is more than a third of the season.

“It shows just how good and how determined and what desire the players have.”

Carroll’s injury is a lateral ligament injury on the side of his knee and though he will remain at Upton Park for treatment, the chances of him returning before the new year is remote.

“We’ve contacted Liverpool and they have all the information,” revealed Allardyce.

“They use the same specialist as we do and he has given us the diagnosis as to what to do.”

Carroll pulled up during the match at Manchester United on Wednesday, but tried to run it off before being replaced on 63 minutes by Cole.

In any event, he would not have been eligible to play against his parent club on Saturday, but it seems that a Liverpool without Suarez will have a bigger problem up front than the Hammers.

It is difficult to see who manager Brendan Rodgers may select, with likes of Oussama Assaidi, Adam Morgan, Jerome Sinclair, Suso, Samid Yesil and Dani Pacheco having only a handful of appearances between them.

That all adds up to an excellent chance for Allardyce to get one over another of the so-called big boys on Saturday, something he will no doubt be looking forward to.

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