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Huntelaar taken off Schalke penalty duty


Allardyce confident of avoiding drop

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has conceded that his side have been sucked into the relegation battle but is confident of getting two wins from the club's final nine games to secure their Premier League status.

• Blog: Hammers sunk by Lampard

The Hammers appeared to be cruising towards a comfortable mid-table position at the halfway point of the campaign, but a run of just three wins from their last 14 league games has seen them slide down the table, with Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Chelsea doing little to ease their concerns.

West Ham are currently on 33 points, only six points clear of 18th-placed Wigan, although they have a game in hand on the majority of the teams at the foot of the table.

"You're always looking at what could happen and what couldn't, but my belief [is that] our own record and our performances this year say we're good enough to secure the points we need to be safe," Allardyce told the club's official website.

"At the end of the day, it's not about Wigan being six points off us - it's about us getting to 39 points. It wouldn't matter what Wigan do then or anybody else. Not all of them will get to 39 points.

"Forget about what's happening down below, and I know it's difficult, but the bottom line is: no matter how they get on, you get to 39 points or more and you're all right."

Allardyce has suggested the absence of key men Kevin Nolan, Joe Cole and Mark Noble was felt at Stamford Bridge, viewing the return of that trio as crucial for the run-in.

"It's always important to get the players who are injured back," he said. "Those three would have probably been on the team-sheet from the start on Sunday, so while there's only three injuries, it's to three key players for us at the moment.

"We know we've got the talent, and I want the talent to be maximised every game. I don't want them to underperform because I don't think they should. I want them to maximise their performances whoever they're playing, and if the best isn't quite good enough at the end of the day then fair enough."

West Ham will face West Bromwich Albion in their next Premier League game on March 30, with a trip to Liverpool a week later.


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