West Ham V Stoke at Upton Park - Match Preview
Updated Sunday, 18th November 2012
West Ham V Stoke at Upton Park - Match Preview.
Allardyce wary of Pulis' Potters
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes Stoke will feel they have under-achieved in the Premier League so far this season.
Allardyce welcomes Tony Pulis' side to Upton Park on Monday night with the Potters sitting 14th in the table having collected only two wins this term.
The Hammers have picked up six more points than their visitors and, although Allardyce knows his side face a challenge, he reckons Pulis will feel Stoke should be further up the table.
"Tony Pulis' team are well drilled and disciplined in the way they want to play," Allardyce said. "I think that they get the defensive side of it right, as I try to do as well.
"I think the improvement in the quality of their players has made them an established Premier League side now.
"I think Tony probably thinks they are under-achieving a bit at the minute with the team he has built over the last few years. He had a more difficult start to the season in terms of fixtures than we did, so I'm sure they'll get back to winning ways, but I hope it's not on Monday."
Pulis has earned plaudits for the way he has kept Stoke in the top flight on a small budget since guiding them to promotion in 2008.
Allardyce feels the way Pulis works alongside chairman Peter Coates has been key to the continued success at the Britannia Stadium.
He said: "I think it's true that Tony Pulis has had a great relationship with his owner and that relationship has borne fruit, particularly because they have backed him and know that they can trust him.
"I think that trust has given him the finance to build year in, year out and that has made them what they are today. They have improved every year in terms of the quality of player that they have brought in.
"I think that's why they've been successful, along with the team spirit they have and how organised they are. That relationship, buying wisely and maximising resources has borne fruit for Stoke City."
Allardyce has a decision to make over whether to bring James Collins back into his defence for the clash.
Collins was amongst the substitutes for the 1-0 win at Newcastle last time out but could now return to the starting line-up in place of James Tomkins, with full-back Guy Demel also pushing for a start.
Matthew Taylor has returned to training following a calf problem but Jack Collison (knee) and Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) are out.
Stoke boss Pulis is monitoring Glenn Whelan's fitness after he limped off in the Republic of Ireland's friendly against Greece this week with a hamstring complaint.
Fellow Potters midfielders Dean Whitehead (suspension) and Rory Delap (hernia) as well as defender Marc Wilson (broken leg) are definitely ruled out, and striker Michael Owen (hamstring) almost certainly is.
But Pulis is optimistic forward Jon Walters and midfielder Charlie Adam will be available despite picking up knocks.
Pulis, meanwhile, has paid tribute to his West Ham counterpart Allardyce's ability to "get the job done".
The Hammers have accrued an impressive total of 18 points from their 11 Premier League matches so far this season following their promotion via the Championship play-offs last term.
It has been a considerable turnaround for West Ham since their relegation from the top flight in 2010/11 and quite the success story for Allardyce, whose appointment as boss at Upton Park in the summer of 2011 was not universally popular among the club's fans.
The 58-year-old has frequently been criticised during his managerial career for employing what are perceived to be unattractive, long-ball tactics despite his record indicating that the football his teams play is effective, and Pulis feels Allardyce deserves more credit.
Asked about Allardyce's critics, Pulis - who has faced accusations himself of using a negative playing style to get results - said: "Each to their own.
"I don't think he pays too much attention to what people do or do not think.
"He gets the job done and he has done a wonderful job at West Ham.
"It was very difficult for him. They played in the Championship, were the top team in the Championship and everyone would have wanted to knock them off their pedestal.
"It is difficult when it is like that, but he got them promoted in one season and they have had a great start this year."