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Allardyce looks to youth for Euro qualifiers

Filed: Thursday, 14th May 2015
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce intends to integrate some of the club's up and coming youngsters into the first team - should West Ham qualify for the Europa Cup's qualifying stages.

The Hammers boss admitted today that if, as expected, the Hammers qualify for the competition via UEFA's Fair Play league he intends to blood some youngsters in the early stages.

"It gives a new opportunity for our younger players coming through," said Allardyce, speaking at this morning's pre-match press conference.

"It would be a very long season and weíll finish two weeks later than normal. Itíll be an extremely difficult challenge but one weíll be happy to take on.

"Once they get over the fact that it means coming back a bit earlier Iím sure theyíll relish it. Itís a new competition for most of our players and it gives our players who havenít played as much as they wouldíve liked an opportunity to play."

The first qualifying round for next season's Europa Cup begins on 1 July - less than six weeks after the end of the current campaign.

And should West Ham then go all the way in the competition and reach next year's final in Basel on 18 May, they would have to play an astonishing 23 games in addition to their regular Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup programme.

That extra demand is something which Allardyce is acutely aware of. "itís well proven how hard it is to compete in Europe and maintain your league position," he warned. "It is particularly difficult for the smaller clubs who arenít used to playing twice a week.

"The routine of Thursday and Sunday is very difficult to sustain. I had it at Bolton and we managed to finish eighth which was a great achievement. It can be managed, but it is extremely difficult.

"If we are to compete in Europe weíll have to avoid injuries as best as possible."

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