Sam Allardyce: West Ham owners back manager

Sam Allardyce

West Ham co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan have issued an open letter to fans in support of boss Sam Allardyce.

The struggling Hammers lost 5-0 to Championship side Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup on Sunday.

The Upton Park club are second from bottom of the Premier League after just one win in 13 top-flight games.

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West Ham 'right to back Allardyce'

"We know Sam has not lost his ambition or desire and is committed to making West Ham United a great Premier League club," read the letter.

Gold and Sullivan also revealed the club are "close to securing one of our key striking targets".

With record signing Andy Carroll yet to play this season because of a foot injury, BBC Sport's Ben Smith reports Monaco's 6ft 8in forward Lacina Traore could join the club on loan if he gets a work permit.

Wolves defender Roger Johnson has already signed on loan after the Hammers failed to bring in Everton's Johnny Heitinga.

"January is not an easy time to do business but we are pleased to confirm we are close to securing one of our key striking targets," continued the letter.

Allardyce, 59, fielded a youthful side at Forest as he made nine changes from the team beaten 2-1 in the Premier League at Fulham on New Year's Day.

The Hammers boss said he had informed Gold and Sullivan of his plans to prioritise the club's top-flight campaign and the Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

"It is never enjoyable being knocked out of a cup competition and losing by such a large scoreline to a lower division side is hard to take for us all," added the letter.

"We thought the youngsters gave their all and did not stop trying, but in the end Nottingham Forest's experience proved too much for us.

"I know Sam would have loved to have put out a more varied side, with our talented youngsters accompanied by more senior players in the starting XI.

"But many key players are out injured and Sam has been handed a near impossible task of coming through three crucial games in the space of six days with a squad of only 14 fit and available senior players.

"This is not an excuse, it is a fact."

Graeme Howlett, editor of West Ham online fanzine Knees Up Mother Brown, feels the statement is "essentially a vote of confidence" in Allardyce.

He said: "It ties in with a poll we ran last week where a small majority of supporters voted to stick with him.

"It's injuries and suspensions that are costing us dearly at present. Any manager would have his work cut out. Replacing him won't make the likes of Andy Carroll, Winston Reid or Mark Noble fit again."

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West Ham visit Manchester City on Wednesday for the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final before a league trip to fellow relegation battlers Cardiff on Saturday.

They are currently without Carroll, Reid, Noble, Ricardo Vaz Te, James Tomkins and James Collins because of injury, while captain Kevin Nolan is suspended.

"We are under no illusions as to the seriousness of our current predicament in the Premier League," added the letter.

"But on the board we have a combined talent of running football clubs and we will draw on all of our nous to get West Ham United out of this situation.

"We are all working round the clock to do everything in our powers to help arrest our slump in form."

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