Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Hammers midfielder Matt Taylor and manager Sam Allardyce are confident the side will stay up this season
Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea combined with victories for Aston Villa, Southampton and Wigan Athletic meant the relegation-haunted sides moved closer to 14th placed West Ham.
With Reading and QPR now seven points from safety, it is that third-bottom spot that is the worry for the Hammers. Wigan currently sit there, six points behind Sam Allardyce’s boys after their late, late win over Newcastle United.
“You are always looking at what could happen and what couldn’t, but my belief in our own record and our performances this year, say we’re good enough to secure the points we need to be safe,” said the West Ham manager after Sunday’s game.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about Wigan being six points off us, it’s about us getting to 39 points. It wouldn’t matter what Wigan do then or anybody else – not all of them will get to 39 points.
“Our concern is, forget about what’s happening down below – and I know it’s difficult, but the bottom line is, no matter how they get on, you get to 39 points or more and you’re all right.”
For the players, midfielder Matt Taylor doesn’t think that the dressing room is worried about being sucked into a potential relegation dogfight.
“To be perfectly honest we have got a great belief amongst all the guys in the dressing room – that is management, staff and the players, that we are good enough not to be dragged into a relegation battle,” said the 30-year-old, who came on as a second-half substitute at Stamford Bridge.
“However, the only way we can keep ourselves out of that is to start and to continue winning football matches.”
That means the home clash with West Brom on March 30 and Taylor is definitely targeting that match.
“We are at home in our next game against a team that we feel we can probably get a positive result against,” insisted Taylor. “That is no disrespect to West Bromwich Albion. I just think that is one of those games that I think we can look to take points from.”
The extra week off may enable the Hammers to see the return of the likes of skipper Kevin Nolan, as well as Mark Noble and Joe Cole, who all missed the trip to Stamford Bridge.
And Allardyce knows that their return could be vital. “It is always important to get the players that are injured back,” said the manager.
“Cole, Nolan and Noble would have probably been on the teamsheet from the start against Chelsea, so while there’s only three injuries, it’s to three key players.”