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A cautionary tale

Filed: Saturday, 18th August 2012
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce is cautiously optimistic about West Ham's chances of getting off to a good start when they face Aston Villa at the Boleyn Ground this afternoon.

The Hammers were granted a home match for their opening fixture of the 2012/13 campaign, which begins at 3pm this afternoon when Allardyce's team pit their wits aganist Villa and their new manager Paul Lambert.

And Big Sam - who has faced a busy week, much of which he has spent talking to the press - admits that it is as good a start as he could have hoped for.

"I think there is a possibility that we can get off to a good start if we give a good performance," he said. "That might give us a chance to win the first game here at Upton Park at the start of a new Premier League season.

"I think we all need to be a little apprehensive - certainly myself, because it doesnít matter how good or bad I think we are, I wonít really know until we play Premier League games.

"But if you get off to a good start, some of the anxieties diminish and it becomes a little easier than you thought it was."

Despite having managed to avoid the Premier Leagues bigger fish in the opening week of the season - West Ham follow today's match with a trip to Swansea - Big Sam, who is able to name seven substitutes in a league match for the first time today, warned his players to take nothing for granted.

"Everybody thought Cardiff City at home was a comfortable start last season and we got beat 1-0 in the last minute," he added. "I donít think there is any kind of comfortable start in the Premier League.

Provisional match squads

West Ham from: Jaaskelainen, Henderson, Demel, Tomkins, Collins, Reid, McCartney, O'Brien, Potts, Spence, Diarra, Diame, Noble, Taylor, O'Neil, Nolan, Vaz Te, Maiga, Maynard, Cole.

Aston Villa from: Given, Guzan, Lowton, Lichaj, Stevens, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, N'Zogbia, Bannan, Holman, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Herd, Gardner, Delph, Bent, Weimann, Delfouneso, Warnock, Hutton.

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