|An archive of Cockney Hammer's West Ham-related daily news digests.
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WEST HAM boss Sam Allardyce says Southampton have the Championship title sewn up.
The Hammers face a trip to Peterborough on Tuesday before a home game with second-place Reading on Saturday.
And Big Sam says it's that second automatic promotion spot that his team is fighting for.
He said: "The title's gone now.
"I can't see Southampton losing three or four on the trot for us to gain those points back.
"We've made life a little easier for them now. They must look back and say 'we never thought we would be this far ahead at this stage' because we were always on their heels.
"We've slipped up and Reading are closer to them now than we are.
"They must be delighted this morning, the position they're in.
"When we played them when we drew 1-1 it was nip and tuck who was going to go for the title. Since then we've slipped up and they haven't
"Fair play to them, they've been there all season. We've always been playing catch up.
"It looked like we were going to catch them at the right time but unfortunately not."
As for that second automatic promotion spot, Allardyce says that his players still have their destiny in their own hands.
He said: "We've got to make a difference, by the end of Saturday's game, to our season.
"We need to get two victories on the trot, which we're more than capable of the way we are playing.
"But we can't have any more excuses, we can't slip up any more.
"It's not over if we don't win the next two games, but if we can then we put it back in our own hands
"We know we're going above Reading if we win the next two games. That takes us into the last six games of the season and we see where we go from there.
Allardyce also voiced his frustration at West Ham dropping points by drawing the last six games on the bounce.
He added: "It's really sad at the moment. What we came through before we started drawing all of these games was quite miraculous.
"We got seven points out of three games having had 10 men on the trot — winning two and drawing one, and one of those was against the league leaders.
"To hit this run of draws has just been a cruel, cruel blow for us
"We've had our best run of undefeated games, 10. We're into double figures and we're all so miserable because we've drawn seven and only won three."
"So I think now we have to deliver eight clean sheets. If we can deliver eight clean sheets we'll go up automatically."
We can't win the title admits Hammers' Allardyce
Sam Allardyce is going back to the drawing board after admitting West Ham have blown their chances of winning the Championship title.
Big Sam is now sweating on automatic promotion – and the Eastenders' boss will discover at London Road on Tuesday whether Posh spice will be too hot for his bland of brothers.
Defeat at Peterborough would take West Ham’s bid to finish in the top two out of their hands for the first time.
And with fans increasingly concerned that he has sacrificed flair for pragmatism, a downbeat Allardyce conceded the title, admitting: “I think that’s gone now. I can’t see Southampton losing three or four on the trot for us to make up those points.
“We’ve slipped up, they haven’t and credit to them because they have been there all season.
"If we deliver eight clean sheets in our last eight games, I think we’ll go up automatically – but we’ve had seven draws and three wins in our last 10 games when it should have been the other way round.
“It’s costing us dear, but we are still in with a shout if we turn the draws into victories.
"If I get a performance like the one at Burnley, I’m sure we can win at Peterborough. Then we play Reading on Saturday, and that’s our chance to get back into second spot.
“But if we really want to get in among the automatic promotion side of it, we have to beat Peterborough – it’s just sad that we can’t go there on the crest of a wave after taking the three points we deserved.”
The Hammers dug themselves out of a 2-0 hole at Turf Moor last Saturday after former England striker Carlton Cole was hauled off at the interval.
Allardyce expected Cole to lead the Championship goalscoring charts, along with Saints’ 28-goal hitman Rickie Lambert, this season.
But Cole has managed only nine goals, and Allardyce admitted his strike rate had been a major disappointment.
“It has been a real gut-wrencher," he said, "and none more so than for Carlton and the rest of the strikers, because it is their responsibility to put the ball in the net.”
Skipper Kevin Nolan insists the Hammers can still return to the Premier League without having to survive the play-offs lottery.
“The plan is still to be back in the top two by 5pm on Saturday," he said. "but we know it’s going to be tough at Peterborough - they beat Reading the other week and they play good attacking football.”
TITLE KO FOR SAM ALLARDYCE
Sam Allardyce has admitted for the first time that his side’s title hopes are over
WEST HAM boss Sam Allardyce has admitted for the first time that his side’s title hopes are over.
The Hammers are unbeaten in 10 games, but they have drawn seven of those to trail leaders Southampton by nine points.
They face Peterborough tonight before a showdown against promotion rivals Reading on Saturday.
Asked about the title, Big Sam said: “I think that’s gone now. I can’t see Southampton losing three or four on the trot for us to gain those points back. We have made life a little easier for them.”
Swansea, Everton and West Ham enter race to sign Doncaster star Barnes
Former England Under-21 international Giles Barnes will spark a transfer scramble amongst a clutch of Premier League clubs in the summer.
A host of top-flight sides are keeping tabs on the Doncaster midfielder with a view to a move ahead of next season.
Swansea and Everton are among the clubs who have sent scouts to watch Barnes in recent weeks, while promotion chasers West Ham are also taking an interest.
Barnes’ displays for Dean Saunders’ side have also attracted interest from overseas with Sampdoria and Lorient also tracking the former West Bromwich and Derby man.
The promising midfielder’s career has stalled in recent seasons due to a cruciate ligament injury which kept him on the sidelines for 18 months.
But Barnes finally looks to be over his injury problems and has been a regular at the Keepmoat Stadium this season.
The 23-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season and will be available on a free transfer.
Sam Allardyce urges West Ham to find killer instinct
Sam Allardyce has urged West Ham to find the killer instinct needed to boost their hopes of automatic promotion from the npower Championship.
The Hammers face Peterborough tonight unbeaten in 10 games, but having won only three of those and slipped to third place, four points behind this Saturday's opponents Reading.
And manager Allardyce knows one point has to start becoming three if his side are to avoid the play-offs and ensure their top-flight status.
"We've had seven draws and three victories out of 10 but it should be the other way round," he told the club website.
"It's costing us dear but we're still in with a shout with eight massive games to go so let's turn the draws back into victories.
"It's a big game as it's our game in hand and then after that it's Reading, so if we really want to get automatic promotion we've got to beat Peterborough. If we beat Reading (as well) we know we go back to second spot.
"It's sad we can't go there on the crest of a wave after getting the three points we deserved (against Burnley on Saturday). We should have won 4-2 or 5-2 or 6-3."
Another team currently dwelling in the play-off positions, Middlesbrough, make the lengthy trip to Ipswich with midfielder Malaury Martin hoping for an overdue first league start for the club.
The Frenchman earned his side a point against Bristol City on Saturday when, for the third time this season, he scored after stepping off the bench.
But he is keen to avoid the "super-sub" tag and told the Northern Echo: "It's disappointing that I have not been able to get more time on the pitch this season, but I hope that my performance in the second half has given me a better chance of staying in the team."
The draw with the Robins left Boro winless in four, but they remain fifth and Martin added: "There are not many teams who are winning a lot of matches in a row. It is a very close league and we are still in the play-off positions."
At the other end of the table, bottom two Portsmouth and Doncaster are in action against Hull and Crystal Palace respectively, with Pompey boss Michael Appleton warning this week's home games against the Tigers and Burnley will shape his side's hopes.
"We've got very good form at home, but we've only got eight games left and we're at the stage where we need to start picking up the points," he told the club website.
Manchester City are ready to listen to offers for striker Edin Dzeko, which has alerted both Juventus and Real Madrid. The 26-year-old cost city £27m last summer.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants to reinforce the holding midfield position with Rennes' Yann M'Vila, 21, and Lucas Biglia, 26, on his radar.
Goalkeeper Ben Foster is in the middle of an increasingly heated tug of war between West Brom, who want to buy him, and current club Birmingham City.
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew says he will have to try and sign more "gems" like Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye if they are to continue to compete with the Premier League's elite.
Aston Villa target Bas Dost is set to snub interest from Alex McLeish's side after labelling them "not very good". The Dutch striker has scored 23 times for Heerenveen this season.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is planning a £12m bid for Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, as Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen prepare to leave Old Trafford.
Tranmere Rovers defender Danny Holmes is wanted by Rangers and Celtic as well as Liverpool. The 22-year-old was released by Rovers before he had a spell in the League of Wales.
Sunderland striker Nicklas Bendtner
Nicklas Bendtner has hit form for Sunderland
France coach Laurent Blanc could become the highest-paid manager in Britain if he is interested in taking charge of Chelsea.
The Times (subscription only)
Didier Drogba faces a Benfica backlash tonight after being filmed mocking the Portuguese giants by Chelsea TV, as he apparently quaked with fear when the Champions League draw was made.
Chelsea will consider lobbying the Football Association to have their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham or Bolton brought forward 48 hours should they progress in the Champions League.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is ready to hand Carlos Tevez his first start since September on Saturday.
Midfielder Gareth Barry and assistant manager David Platt say Manchester City cannot afford another slip-up in the title race.
Manchester Evening News
Defender Sam Ricketts has revealed that the Bolton players were worried sick about friend and team-mate Fabrice Muamba.
Sunderland striker Nicklas Bendtner has scored three goals in his last five matches - despite not being able to see thanks to his mask.
Former Argentina star Diego Maradona took touchline antics to a new level at the weekend by performing a roly-poly after his side, Al Wasl in the UAE, missed a clear chance in front of goal.
Ruben Negredo, the brother of Alvaro, enjoyed an amazing match for Spanish side Gimnastica Torrelavega against Burgos. He scored at one end before saving a penalty at the other.
United target Huntelaar delays contract talks with Schalke
Mancini ready to discard Dzeko this summer
Revealed: Why Liverpool blocked Shelvey loan move
EXCLUSIVE: Keeper Foster in transfer tug of war
Toon boss digging for more hidden 'gems' in transfer market
Newcastle boss plans raid for French teenager
Aguero assures City: I'm not leaving for Real Madrid
Britton signs new three-year Swans extension
Manchester City are ready to listen to offers for striker Edin Dzeko , which has alerted both Juventus and Real Madrid. The 26-year-old cost city £27m last summer. (Daily Mail)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants to reinforce the holding midfield position with Rennes' Yann M'Vila , 21, and Lucas Biglia , 26, on his radar. (Daily Telegraph)
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew says he will have to try and sign more "gems" like Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye if they are to continue to compete with the Premier League's elite. (Metro)
Aston Villa target Bas Dost is set to snub interest from Alex McLeish's side after labelling them "not very good". The Dutch striker has scored 23 times for Heerenveen this season. (talkSPORT)
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is planning a £12m bid for Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar , as Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen prepare to leave Old Trafford. (CaughtOffside)
Tranmere Rovers defender Danny Holmes is wanted by Rangers and Celtic as well as Liverpool. The 22-year-old was released by Rovers before he had a spell in the League of Wales. (talkSPORT)
Rangers owner Craig Whyte told administrators last week that he will have a say in who takes control of the Glasgow club. (The Sun)
Celtic and the Scottish Football Association will go head to head over manager Neil Lennon's red card at half-time at Ibrox on Sunday when the Celtic boss is called before an SFA judicial panel at Hampden on 19 April. (Various)
Former Rangers striker Michael Mols believes the wages paid to him and his fellow Dutch players is not the cause of the club's financial problems. (Various)
Dorin Goian, the Rangers centre-half, hopes the 3-2 Old Firm win over Celtic on Sunday will speed up the process of securing a buyer for the club.
Rhys McCabe's performance in Rangers' derby win is a sign that the club's training ground, Murray Park, is producing good quality young players. (Daily Mail)
Rangers manager Ally McCoist will make a new contract offer to Sone Aluko his top priority once the club is sold. (Daily Express)
Espanyol are weighing up a summer move for Aluko. (The Sun)
And Aluko's manager when he was at Aberdeen, Jimmy Calderwood, says that despite interest from English clubs, the player wants to stay at Rangers. (Daily Record)
Russell Anderson is on course to captain Aberdeen for the first time in five years when the Dons play Hearts at the weekend. (The Sun)
Scotland captain Darren Fletcher hopes to be back playing for Manchester United and his country next season but he admits he does not know how realistic that is. (Daily Express)
St Johnstone have been boosted by the news that midfielder Murray Davidson did not suffer a serious knee injury against Hearts and that he could be fit enough to face Inverness on 7 April. (Various)
Kilmarnock plan to open contract talks to keep 34-year-old Garry Hay at the club. (Daily Mail)
Dundee United manager Peter Houston reckons Tannadice favourites Gary Mackay-Steven and Johnny Russell should be shortlisted for player of the year. (Daily Express)
Hearts hope to have Craig Beattie fit to play against Aberdeen at the weekend, but they have injury worries over six first-team regulars. (Daily Mail)
Hibernian legend Jackie McNamara fears that his former team could be relegated because he does not see any battlers in the team who are up for the fight. (Daily Express)
Roy Hodgson has apologised after throwing away a black armband worn in memory of West Brom legend Ray Barlow.
Ben Foster is in the middle of an increasingly heated tug of war between West Brom and Birmingham.
Liverpool refused to loan Jonjo Shelvey back to Blackpool as they were angry about Ian Holloway talking up the move.
David Fox says Paul Lambert is deliberately keeping the players in the dark about their futures.
Pompey boss Michael Appleton has branded out of shape strikers Kanu and Benjani as "past it".
Darren Fletcher is optimistic he will return from a chronic bowel condition next season.
Anders Lindegaard may not play again this season in his battle to come back from damaged ankle ligaments.
Mick McCarthy is leaving the door open for a sensational return as Wolves manager.
Arsenal are keen on Fiorentina ace Riccardo Montolivo.
Leon Britton has agreed a three-year contract at Swansea.
Swindon chairman Jeremy Wray admits Paulo Di Canio will leave if a bigger club comes in for him.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson insists beating Manchester City to the title would be his sweetest win of all.
Roberto Di Matteo has warned his Chelsea squad not to give themselves another mission impossible in Europe.
Arsenal will offer Alex Song a bumper pay-rise to commit his long-term future to the club.
Joe Cole has emerged as one of Paris St Germain's top transfer targets this summer.
Manchester City will offload Edin Dzeko in the summer in a move that has already alerted Juventus and Real Madrid.
Newcastle are monitoring Lens youngster Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Liverpool are offering trials to Bright Gyenfi, James Akaminko and Nurudeen Amed.
Aston Villa are interested in Spartak Moscow's Artem Dzyuba.
Jordan Henderson has delivered a blunt appraisal of his first season at Liverpool.
Papiss Cisse is targeting Champions League football with Newcastle next season.
Chelsea are prepared to make Laurent Blanc the highest-paid manager in Britain if the France coach is interested in taking charge at Stamford Bridge this summer.
Neil Lennon is set for an SFA battle after he was charged with using foul language towards referee Calum Murray
babe of the day .
THE SUN: Wayne Rooney found the key to the title - with his 21st league goal of the season. Also: Didier Drogba faces a Benfica backlash tonight after being filmed mocking the Portuguese giants on Chelsea TV.
DAILY MIRROR: Wayne Rooney delivered a crushing title blow as Manchester United opened up a three-point lead on their noisy neighbours. Also: Benfica coach Jorge Jesus last night pleaded to make Didier Drogba pay for "disrespecting" the Portuguese giants.
DAILY EXPRESS: Wayne Rooney continued his rich form with the only goal against Fulham to take Manchester United back to the top of the Premier League.
DAILY STAR: Nervous Manchester United returned to the top of the Premier League last night - but only just. Also: Benfica last night warned Didier Drogba they'd shake him up for real tonight in the Stadium of Light.
DAILY MAIL: Wayne Rooney stepped up his seemingly one-man mission to keep the Barclays Premier League title at Old Trafford last night. Also: Didier Drogba was last night warned to expect a Benfica backlash after performing what appeared to be a celebration jig at the prospect of a Champions League clash with the Portuguese team.
THE TIMES: Chelsea are prepared to make Laurent Blanc the highest-paid manager in Britain if the France coach is interested in taking charge at Stamford Bridge this summer. Also: When Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart lane 10 days ago, most feared for his life, but as the Bolton Wanderers players prepare to return to the scene of that traumatic episode for the first time tonight, they will do so with a growing sense of encouragement about their stricken team-mate's health.
THE GUARDIAN: Manchester United have moved three points clear of Manchester City, with eight games to go, and will enjoy the view from the top of the table. Also: Chelsea will consider lobbying the Football Association to have their FA Cup semi-final brought forward by 48 hours to a Friday evening should they progress beyond Benfica to confront Barcelona or Milan in the last four of the Champions League.'
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Manchester United moved three points clear of Manchester City in the race for the Premier League with a typical piece of unerring finishing by Wayne Rooney, but this game ended controversially. Also: There's a video, first aired on Chelsea TV, apparently showing Didier Drogba shaking with fake fear when he is told that Chelsea had drawn Benfica in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
THE INDEPENDENT: Roberto Di Matteo last night attempted to bolster his Chelsea team's morale ahead of tonight's Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie against Benfica, following a withering assessment of their season by Frank Lampard. Also: It will not be a normal FA Cup quarter-final at White Hart Lane tonight.
We're going to be completely honest with you: today's rumours aren't all that. We'd love to report that Wayne Rooney is on the verge of a shock move to Liverpool, break the news that Neil Lennon is heading a consortium to buy Rangers, or tell you how Lionel Messi is about to join Basingstoke Town, having been spotted discussing terms in the branch of Pizza Express near the roundabout by the Camrose Ground, a couple of miles from junction seven of the M3. But that simply isn't the case. What do you want us to do? Lie through our brazen teeth?
OK, fair enough, will do. Mick McCarthy is in the frame for the manager's job at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Actually, we haven't made that one up. That really is in the papers.
And, believe it or not, this preposterous nonsense is a proper pukka rumour too: Paris Saint Germain are prepared to meet Joe Cole's ludicrous £130,000-a-week wage. Liverpool fans must be hoping they never wake up, and that the French giants will also take Stewart Downing off their hands for £40m, while Andy 'Boxer' Carroll is boiled down to make a useful pot of glue. But sadly not all dreams become a reality.
Wayne Rooney Benfica winger Nicolas Gaitan is a target for Manchester United, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur.
Neil Lennon is heading a Edin Dzeko is leaving Manchester City for Real Madrid or Juventus.
And Basingstoke Town Tottenham Hotspur are extremely interested in Lionel Messi Blackburn Rovers winger Junior Hoilett.
We didn't fabricate, dissemble or obfuscate, you've got to at least give us that.
Championship, League One and League Two fixtures for 2012/13 season to be announced on June 18
11:30am Tuesday 27th March 2012 in News
Football League fixtures for next season will be announced on Monday, June 18.
The Championship, League One and League Two 2012/13 campaigns will start later this year due to the London Olympics, with the season kicking off on the weekend of August 18.
Giles Barnes would be a great signing. I saw him drag that shambles of a Derby team through a game virtually single handedly when they were in the Premier League. He looked head and shoulders above the rest of them. It wasn't difficult mind.
...the man's lost it if he ever thought that!
Cheers for the roundup C.H
I thought CFC would have hit a few more, and I really like Baldock... I think they forget he was injured for a bit and only came on as 2nd half sub for a few games...play him and he'll get some goals. He came on against Palarse and added a lot to the game and was unlucky not to get a brace.
SSN been talking about the Man Utd v Fulham match today after the penalty not given yesterday.
Using Opta stats to show that penalties do get given at Old Trafford, they have shown we have conceded 16 Premier League penalties at home since August 2006, making us the highest.
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