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Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Hammers front man Nicky Maynard is learning a new role for the start of the Premier League campaign
It may not be the biggest surprise for West Ham fans, but it seems that Sam Allardyce is almost certainly going to stick with his tried and trusted 4-3-3 (or 4-5-1 if you prefer) formation for the forthcoming season.
The Hammers boss came into a fair amount of criticism last season for adopting what some would call a negative tactic, particularly at Upton Park, but it seems he is set to go with it again.
Striker Nicky Maynard, who scored one and won a penalty for the other in Saturday’s 2-1 friendly win at Colchester United, confirmed what we had all been thinking anyway.
“I was playing wider in a three against Colchester and the gaffer has pulled me and said that it is more than likely that we will be playing this formation during the season,” said the former Bristol City striker.
“It isn’t that he won’t play me up top, but he is likely to play me here, there and everywhere and so it is just another position for me to learn and get used to.”
The 25-year-old, who scored three goals for the Hammers following his arrival in January, seems to be learning fast, poaching the first goal from Carlton Cole’s knockdown and then latching on to Mark Noble’s through ball to win a penalty.
“Obviously striker is my main position, though maybe not up top on my own, and though the gaffer has said that he is not going to stop me playing there, he wants me to play out wide as well, so I have a bit of versatitlity,” said Maynard, who knows there will be tough competition for places.
“If we play the same formation as we did against Colchester and we have only got three strikers, then it is not going to bring the best out of you,” he explained.
“With more competition it is down to you to stake your claim for a place and it is only down to you to play at your best.”
At the moment, Maynard is leading that battle, but there is plenty of competition for the prize.