Press Association Top goalscorer Diafra Sakho, as well as midfielders Alex Song and Cheikhou Kouyate, have all hit the ground running since joining in the summer but the trio could all be missing once the African Cup of Nations begins. Allardyce, who takes West Ham to Sunderland on Saturday looking to build on last weekend’s 3-1 win over Swansea, spoke of aiming for a top-half finish before a ball had been kicked and is eager to get into February before potentially readdressing his goals. “If we’re still here towards the end of January then we’ll reassess our aims,” he said. “By that point we’ll have played 20 games, we’ll have played everybody once so we should have a good indicator of where we are. So we’ll see what everybody has got in their locker, everybody would’ve seen what we have in ours so it’ll be a question of whether we can carry it on. “We might have a little worrying spell during the Africa Cup of Nations in January, that’s why I’m not prepared to do any more predictions until they come back. “We don’t want to get carried away. We just want to keep on playing the football we’re playing at the moment. Everyone is enjoying themselves, there’s a good buzz around the training ground which is always a good sign. “I think competition for places keeps everyone hungry, there’s quite a few disappointed players because they haven’t played as much as they wanted and that is very healthy from my point of view. It keeps them on their toes and gets the best performances out of them.” The 60-year-old also admitted the start to the season had caught him by surprise, given the fact he brought in a host of new faces during the summer. The Hammers sit fourth in the Barclays Premier League having won eight of their opening 15 fixtures and Allardyce, whose position at Upton Park was uncertain at the end of last season, has been drawing the plaudits for installing a more attacking approach. Eye-catching victories over Manchester City and Liverpool have been the stand-out performances but, with a gruelling festive schedule, the January transfer window and the African Cup of Nations, Allardyce knows his side are entering a critical period of the season. “I wouldn’t have thought it was achievable before we started playing because we had so many new players,” he added. “But like I’ve said many times the new players have done a particularly fantastic job. The other players have done a job to welcome them in and make them feel comfortable. Our team spirit and family feel has played a part and everyone is on top of their game. “I think the Swansea performance typified that, we’re a very good team character wise as we came back from a goal down again. Our determination shone through as did our ability and quality. We don’t just play one way, we’re flexible and can adapt to the style we need to at that particular time. “I think the lads have picked up on that really well and opposition defences don’t know what’s coming next. That causes unrest and I think our performance on Sunday was the best of the season.” Sam Allardyce will wait until the end of January to assess whether his pre-season targets need to be changed following West Ham’s impressive start to the campaign.
Chief Executive of Ashgold, Emmanuel Frimpong and new head coach of the club, Roberto Landi have given contradicting views on Shafiu Mumuni.Shafiu Muhammed has been in and out of the Ashgold setup and has not featured in any game for the Obuasi-based club after his exploits in the WAFU tournament in 2019 where he finished as the top goal scorer of the competition.In an interview with Fox FM, the CEO of Ashgold disclosed that the head coach does not want the services of the striker as his contract with the club has ended.“Shafiu [Mumuni] is not in our plans. The head coach claimed Shafiu is not needed in the team [AshantiGold] because we have signed his replacement. His contract has ended.In a varying account by Landi, 64, he told Oyerapa FM he had not yet personally assessed the player and was in no position yet to determine whether he was in his plans or not.“I don’t know, it’s his opinion, not my opinion. It is his personal opinion because I have not gotten time to do clear and exact evaluation. Everywhere in this world, the coach must assess and evaluate the players so I decide on those I like and those I don’t.”“No, it’s not my opinion. I know him but I need time to evaluate all the players and make a decision, I need time, that’s the professional way,” he added.Shafiu Mumuni in his time with Ashgold was the skipper of the team and was the team’s leading goal scorer in the league and CAF Confederation Cup competitions.He was expected to sign a deal with Romanian side CFR Cluj in January but the move was called off due to several unreported reasons.The 25-year-old striker is also on the radar of rivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko who are keen to bolster their attacking options ahead of the CAF Champions League exploits.