Allardyce has message for West Ham youngsters ahead of Nottingham Forest clash

08:30 04 January 2014

West Ham's Sam Allardyce. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

West Ham's Sam Allardyce. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

2014 Getty Images

Sam Allardyce has urged West Ham’s youngsters to grab their chance with both hands in Sunday’s FA Cup third round clash against Nottingham Forest.

The Hammers’ first team squad is depleted by injuries and suspensions and with Premier League survival the number one priority, manager Allardyce plans to include as many as eight Under-21 players in his squad to face Forest.

The likes of Danny Potts, Leo Chambers, Elliot Lee, George Moncur and new signing Jaanai Gordon are set to play some part, and Allardyce has challenged them to show they can cut it in the first team.

“It’s a fantastic chance,” said the Hammers boss. “It’s about them stepping up to the plate and having the mentality to try and produce their skills at this level.

“For some of them it could be a turning point in their careers, if they want it to be, by going out there and saying, ‘I’ve got this chance, I’ve got to grasp it with both hands and I’m going to deliver. I’m going to show the manager I’m worthy of breaking through into his first team squad in the near future.’”

Allardyce added: “Ravel Morrison has done it this year, and Leo Chambers has made some good contributions, as have a number of other young players in the early stages of the Capital One Cup.”

Allardyce says the youngsters can stake their claim to be involved in next week’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City with good performances at the City Ground.

The Hammers’ youngsters sit second in the Under-21 Premier League table having lost just once in 10 games this season, but Allardyce says handling the pressure of first team football will be their biggest challenge against Forest.

“You just hope that they can handle the pressure, that’s the big problem for young players,” he said.

“If they can’t, then they can’t produce the skills that they have.”

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