Big Sam targets a 20-goals-a-season striker

West Ham boss turns his attention elsewhere after missing out on Craig Mackail-Smith

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has revealed that signing a striker is his top priority as he looks to build a squad capable of securing promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Having missed out on Peterborough United forward Craig Mackail-Smith this week, who signed for Brighton & Hove Albion, the 56-year-old has turned his attention elsewhere, with a shortlist having already been drawn up.

“We will run the rule over a few players, but I think we do need another striker in the squad,” he stressed.

“It is difficult to work with just three strikers, especially in a 46-game season and ideally we will be looking for two strikers to grab between 15 and 20 goals each.”

Despite being in the market for new players, Allardyce has not ruled out the possibility of keeping some of his international stars – most notably Robert Green, Scott Parker, Carlton Cole and Pablo Barrera, who return to pre-season training today (Thursday).

“They return this week and then I will sit down with them and they can tell me what their plans are,” he said.

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“Obviously if they want to go and we get a satisfactory bid in then I wouldn’t want to stand in their way, but let us see what they say first – we have not received bids for any of the players.”

This week is the first time that Allardyce has had a chance to really look at the majority of the squad that he has inherited, and he admits that he has been impressed with what he has seen so far.

“It has been lovely weather and the boys are looking very enthusiastic,” he said. “Everyone looks like they are glad to be back.”

“Last season was a miserable one, but we have to put that behind us and start to work on the task ahead and that is getting straight back into the Premier League.”

Tomorrow (Friday) the Hammers will leave for their pre-season tour of Switzerland where they will play two games.

On Monday, West Ham face BSC Young Boys, before playing against former Hammers midfielder Radoslav Kovac’s new side FC Basel on Wednesday.

“I have always gone on pre-season tours in the past and they are an invaluable way of getting to know everyone and improving the team spirit,” said Allarydce.

“We have lots of new faces among the players and the staff and this will be the perfect chance for everyone to get to know each other.”

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