Allardyce sings Nolan's praises

  • Last Updated: September 24 2012, 15:29 BST

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has praised captain Kevin Nolan and is hoping fellow Barclays Premier League managers continue to underestimate the contribution of the midfielder.

Kevin Nolan (right): Late leveller against Sunderland

Nolan, who is expected to be rested for Tuesday night's Capital One Cup clash at home to Wigan, struck a late equaliser for the Hammers on Saturday as they salvaged a 1-1 draw against Sunderland.

The 30-year-old played under Allardyce at Bolton and has been one of West Ham's best performers since their return to the top flight which has seen the east London club take eight points from their opening five games.

Former Newcastle boss Allardyce believes Nolan's record speaks for itself and also acknowledged the efforts of the club's co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold in signing the former England Under-21 international while the club were in the Championship.

"No-one should underestimate Nolan," he said. "Look at his CV. Premier League, Premier League, Premier League - 10 goals, nine goals, 11 goals, nine goals etc. I hope they (other clubs) underestimate him for the rest of the season and he will end up the joint-top scorer like at Newcastle.

"He was great value for money in the Premier League but very expensive in the Championship - so give credit to David Sullivan and David Gold for spending that money on that sort of player."

Allardyce also believes the club have done well to sign the majority of their players for little to no money.

Matt Jarvis joined from Wolves for a fee reported to be in excess of £10million and a large loan fee is believed to have been paid to Liverpool for the services of Andy Carroll but, those two aside, Allardyce is pleased with the lack of money that has had to be spent.

"Most of our players are not very expensive in the Premier League," he said "(James) Collins was £1million, (Winston) Reid £2million, (Mohamed) Diame free, (Ricardo) Vaz Te £500k, Matt Taylor £2million.

"We spent our money wisely - with the passion we have and the team spirit, to evolve as a team, hopefully we can continue to grow."

Nolan scored the only goal of the game as West Ham beat Aston Villa on the opening day of the new league season and also opened the scoring in the first minute as West Ham beat Fulham 3-0 before the last international break.

But the skipper is not resting on his laurels and will continue to work hard for the team.

"I've just got to keep doing what I do, working hard to be in the side, keep scoring goals and being committed," he said.

"As soon as I stop doing that I won't be in the starting XI."

Nolan is close friends with Carroll, who was injured on his West Ham debut against Fulham, and although he admitted Carroll's absence is noticeable Nolan has backed fellow forward Carlton Cole to provide adequate cover.

"You always miss quality players but we have other quality players like 'Coley' who has come in and done a good, good job," he said. "He was very unlucky not to be on the scoresheet (against Sunderland). He's going to be vital for us."

Despite his side's positive start to the season Allardyce is looking to give his fringe players a chance to impress in the cup clash with Wigan, which could mean a night off for Nolan.

He said: "The players are frustrated on our subs bench. Obviously (Modibo) Maiga will come into the fray, he is feeling his way in, as obviously Wigan will be a great game, not too much pressure on both teams as it is a Capital One Cup game.

"They (Wigan) will make seven, eight changes like they did against Forest and we will make some changes based on (George) McCartney, (James) Tomkins, (Alou) Diarra, Maiga, (Gary) O'Neil, Jarvis - they can all play."

Carroll is still missing through a hamstring injury and Jack Collison's troublesome knee injury continues to rule him out of contention.