March 7 2014 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Monday, February 24, 2014
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce and his captain Kevin Nolan are back together and singing from the same hymn sheet
They have been inseparable for years at Bolton, Newcastle and now West Ham, but just a few short weeks ago it seemed that the love affair between manager Sam Allardyce and his captain Kevin Nolan was close to being over.
The Hammers boss criticised the player’s mentality after he was sent off twice in just a handful of games earlier in the season and he suggested that he ‘goes away and think about his future’.
That he has certainly done. Some may say that it was the return of Andy Carroll that made the difference, but since the big centre forward has missed the last three games, the stunning return to goalscoring form of the West Ham skipper must be down to much more than that.
So can Allardyce believes the transformation in the player? Of course he can.
“I can believe it because I know his qualities,” said the boss after Saturday’s 3-1 win.
“What I like is the way he has gone about his job to make sure he repays everyone at the club for what happened.
“It was the lowest point of his career because it was two sendings off in a short space of time, but his contribution since then has been massive and it is not only in the goals, but also the contribution with the first goal which was a top quality pass.”
Nolan rounded things off with the third goal at Upton Park on Saturday, making it five goals in four games and taking him to seven for the season.
“Feeding off the front man is Kevin’s great quality,” continued Allardyce. “Everybody talks about Andy Carroll, but he hasn’t been here for a while and Kevin is still feeding off the balls from those front men.
“Our quality in the final third is getting so much better now and that is why we are winning games of football.”
The influence of Mark Nolan on Kevin Nolan’s displays is also important as the West Ham midfielder was quick to point out.
“Kev knows he has got me sitting behind him and that gives him the licence to get into the box,” said Nolan.
“There is not many better in the box than him and there hasn’t been over the last 10 years, so he knows he has the licence to go and get the team goals and create chances and I will be there to back it up, that is why it works so well.”
It certainly does. Incredibly, Nolan has got more goals this season than he had at this time last term – seven compared to six – and if he continues at his current rate, another double figure campaign looks almost assured.
And that love affair between Allardyce and Nolan is blossoming once again.