West Ham boss provides update on defender hunt

15:52 17 January 2013

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Transfer News: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has stressed he is looking to boost his defence with new signings as quickly as possible.

With James Collins, Joey O’Brien (both hamstring) and George McCartney (knee) injured and a Barclays Premier League home clash with QPR to come for his team on Saturday, Allardyce fielded an experimental back-line in last night’s FA Cup third-round replay at Manchester United.

Opting to rest Guy Demel by leaving him on the bench, the manager brought midfielder Alou Diarra into a central defensive trio alongside Winston Reid and James Tomkins, with Jordan Spence and Daniel Potts operating as wing-backs.

Allardyce was pleased with the performance those players produced in a contest United won 1-0, but made it clear he wants to bring in reinforcements swiftly.

The 58-year-old, who is interested in Blackburn full-back Martin Olsson, said: “We will try to get some defenders in as quick as we can.

“Alou Diarra did a fantastic job to help on our defensive side, because in terms of player availability, we only had Winston Reid, James Tomkins and Guy Demel who were experienced defenders.

“Alou Diarra stepped into the middle of the back three and did very well.

“Young Jordan Spence and Danny Potts were playing as wing-backs and they did well.

“But we want to improve the squad and we want to get our injured players back as soon as we possibly can.”

Allardyce made six changes to his first XI for yesterday’s encounter, in which Wayne Rooney’s close-range finish in the ninth minute proved to be the only goal.

West Ham had a penalty appeal for handball against Rafael rejected in the second half by referee Phil Dowd, who then awarded a spot-kick at the other end with just over 10 minutes to go for a similar infringement by Spence, only for Rooney to waste the opportunity by blazing over.

Allardyce was critical of Dowd after the game, saying the difference between the two handball incidents was that “Spence plays for West Ham and the away team, while Rafael plays for the home side at Old Trafford”, and suggesting the official “couldn’t find the courage” to give a penalty against the Brazilian.

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