Allardyce sets sights on Spurs win
Sam Allardyce has warned West Ham are in a good position to pull off their first victory at Tottenham in 13 years on Sunday.
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17. Joey O'Brien
The Hammers, who were promoted in the summer via the npower Championship play-offs, have defied all expectations so far this season and currently sit in joint sixth position in the Barclays Premier League after 12 matches.
The Londoners last week earned a creditable win at Newcastle, but they now embark on a difficult run of fixtures that includes games at Spurs, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.
West Ham have not won at White Hart Lane since Ian Wright and Marc Keller guided them to victory in 1999, but Allardyce thinks his team are shaping up well ahead of Sunday's London derby.
"We have to say we are a little more consistent (than Tottenham) if we have more points than them," the West Ham manager told talkSPORT after last night's 1-1 draw against Stoke.
"Every game is a tough game for us but I thought we did extremely well against Stoke based on the injuries we had.
"We have played 12 matches and we are (joint) sixth in the table with 19 points.
"Sixth in the table is a pretty good start for anyone, let alone a team that has just been promoted."
Some West Ham fans voiced their concerns over Allardyce's playing style when he was appointed as manager in June last year, but the Hammers faithful now appear to have taken the 58-year-old to heart.
West Ham played some thrilling attacking football at times in the second half yesterday - quashing fears the game would turn in to a long ball fest.
"We had the fans on the edge of their seats right from the start up until the very end," Allardyce said.
"We had Stoke hanging on in the end, we just couldn't find a winner that we deserved. We recovered well after going behind and created lots of chances."
Right-back Joey O'Brien represents a prime example of how Allardyce has been able to get the best out of his players so far this season.
After being released by Bolton at the end of the 2010-11 season, O'Brien moved to Upton Park and played a key role in getting the Hammers promoted.
The 26-year-old has performed admirably at full-back this season in the absence of first-choice Guy Demel and he last night scored his first Premier League goal when he turned home Gary O'Neil's cross to equalise Jon Walters' opener.
"I've always said if you can get yourself into the box it doesn't matter who you are or what position you play in - if you buy the ticket you might get the goal and Joey bought the ticket and got the goal for us," Allardyce said.
"The full-backs played well. They both got into wide positions and got in behind Stoke's defence, which is very hard to beat if you look at their defensive record. They are a stubborn unit."
Stoke looked good value for their first away win since January when Walters put them ahead from a well-worked free-kick after 13 minutes.
But O'Brien's equaliser meant the Potters travelled back up to Staffordshire having registered their seventh draw of the season.
"It's disappointing. We can't turn those draws into wins," Stoke manager Tony Pulis said.
"That's really frustrating. We have a really good side and we showed that in the first half. We have some real quality.
"If we had got the second goal it would've taken the pressure off the lads but we didn't and they scored the equaliser."