West Ham defender James Tomkins insists speculation over the future of manager Sam Allardyce has no effect on the players as they go in search of derby-day glory at Tottenham on Sunday.
Allardyce has never enjoyed a perfect relationship with the majority of West Ham fans and, despite a change to a more attractive style and an impressive start to the season, cracks again began to appear following last weekend’s 4-0 FA Cup thrashing at West Brom.
With his contract expiring at Upton Park at the end of the season, it remains to be seen if Allardyce, 60, will be offered a new deal to extend his four-year tenure at the club.
But Tomkins, who signed his own contract extension last week to tie him to West Ham until 2020, says the players just have to concentrate on picking up results and not about who may be in charge going into next season.
“It doesn’t faze us. Obviously that is out of our hands,” he said when asked about Allardyce’s position.
“We have to do what we do on the pitch, whoever takes charge of us next year. It doesn’t matter whether it is the (current) manager or not.
“We just have to concentrate on the pitch and that’s all we try and do. We don’t talk about it much in the dressing room at all. The manager has been brilliant this year. Obviously the fans have taken their frustrations out (on him).
“I know the fans quite well through all the years, they expect the most. It’s a big club and rightly so, they pay their money and travel all the way.
“They are all entitled to their opinions. Obviously you are not going to keep everyone happy, there is always going to be a bunch of fans who are going to show their disappointment in a different way.”
Tomkins has been at West Ham since the age of eight, and having grown up in Essex has also been a Hammers fan for his whole life.
The 25-year-old, therefore, knows what a victory over rivals Tottenham means to those associated with the club and how three points would prove to be the perfect tonic after their cup humbling at the Hawthorns.
“Everyone’s upset, not just the fans. I feel it as well myself, being a fan and a player, we wanted to go a long way in the FA Cup and it just wasn’t to be,” he said.
“The way we went out is the most disappointing thing, conceding four goals . We haven’t conceded four goals all year so to do it in the way we did was very disappointing.
“But there are not many teams you’d pick to be a better team to bounce back against than Spurs. It is the sort of game that will surely put a smile back on the West Ham fans’ faces. I think it is the main one fans look for every year.
“It’s the biggest game of the year for the fans. White Hart Lane is always a great atmosphere as well. It means a lot to everyone at the club.”