STILL HOPING

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has said that the hopes of his club finishing in the automatic promotion spots are all but over after his side saw Southampton build a five point advantage in the table.

Only two games remain in the Championship this season and Sam Allardyce believes that it would be almost impossible for West Ham to finish in the second position.

Reading have already qualified for the Premier league, but they are in a race with Southampton to win the Championship. West Ham could not match the 3-0 win for Southampton in the midweek action, as they could only draw 1-1 against Bristol City.

Now, it is almost certain that West Ham will be playing in the play-offs in their attempt to get back into the Premier league on the first attempt. However, Sam Allardyce believes that the players should not be going into the play-offs matches confident that they can secure promotion because anybody can beat anybody in the play-offs.

Sam Allardyce last tasted success in the form of promotion many years ago with Bolton Wanderers. However, he has failed in his objective to get West Ham back into the Premier league first attempt, but fans will be more concerned about the style of play next season.

"It's difficult to win our game and hope Southampton slip up. First and foremost, we've got to hope Middlesbrough do us a favour and beat Southampton on Saturday. Even if we get that favour we've still got to go and beat Leicester [on Monday]. There's nothing we can do until Monday in terms of ourselves to prepare. Anybody can beat anybody in the play-offs. Form, league form and position in the league means absolutely nothing when the play-offs come around," Allardyce said ahead of the match with Leicester City on Monday night.

West Ham are favourites to win against Leicester, with the latest football betting odds making them odds-on. A win would re-open the Championship promotion race.