Christmas may still be a while away, but this has not prevented West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce from planning ahead.
The Hammers have taken the Premier League by storm so far this season, and their comeback from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Stoke City on Saturday saw them extend their unbeaten run.
However, Allardyce is wary of the strenuous demands of the Christmas period, and may opt to rest a number of their star performers – including Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia – for the busy run of games in order to maximise their chances of being fit for the remainder of the season.
“When you come to November and December and get injuries – even though they might not be out as long they miss more games because they come so thick and fast,” said Allardyce in his weekly press conference.
“If players are out around Christmas they can miss six or seven games.
“New players – Enner Valencia, Sakho, Kouyate and Mauro Zarate – won’t have hit that cauldron of mental and physical output during that particular period. Those players normally have a break.”
The Irons are currently in fifth place in the Premier League table, with 17 points from 10 games.