Allardyce: Hammers time is tough
West Ham's difficult run of fixtures is getting tougher due to the matches being scheduled closer together, according to manager Sam Allardyce. The Hammers travel to local rivals Tottenham on Sunday before a midweek clash at Manchester United and another London derby with Chelsea next weekend. The run follows fixtures against champions Manchester City, Newcastle and Stoke, with Allardyce's side taking five points from those three games. West Ham currently sit seventh in the Barclays Premier League but face all five teams directly above them before the turn of the year. But it is the forthcoming week of matches that Allardyce reckons could prove to be a tough test for his squad. "We played Manchester City and Newcastle recently and Stoke was also a tough game," he said. "I think that the games coming up are of a similar stature, but they also come within just six days. The fixtures are hard enough on an individual basis but to have them in such a short space of time makes it more difficult. "We will certainly see what the players and the squad are made of by the end of next week." West Ham have not beaten Spurs at White Hart Lane in 13 years but Allardyce has done his homework on how the side are set up under Andre Villas-Boas. He said: "I have read the scout reports and watched a few videos but I definitely think the system has changed. We very rarely saw Jermain Defoe employed as a lone striker when Harry was in charge but we have seen it quite a lot under Andre. "There has been a change in how they play and a little change in positions and selection. Some of that has been forced because top quality players like Luke Modric have left and they are very hard to replace. "They have been going OK but only time will tell whether it will be enough." Hammers' midfielder Mark Noble echoed the opinion of his manager that the next week will be hard for a newly-promoted side. "It doesn't come much tougher than Spurs and Manchester United away followed by Chelsea at home," he said. "But we have to remember we were losing at home to Burnley in the Championship this time last year." The 25-year-old Noble has come through the ranks at Upton Park and is a firm favourite amongst West Ham fans with the former England Under-21 international looking forward to the trip to Spurs. "Playing at Tottenham has become a special match for me," he said. "I love playing at White Hart Lane, I think it's a great place to play and they're a top team. "My full Premier League debut was there. We drew 1-1 and I remember Edgar Davids was playing for Spurs. "We go there on Sunday excited and with confidence in our team. We have a really tough few games coming up but there doesn't seem to be teams with an aura about them."
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