West Ham boss Slaven Bilic praises Sam Allardyce ahead of Upton Park clash

Slaven Bilic, West Ham press conference
Image: Slaven Bilic has praised the work done by Sam Allardyce at West Ham

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic believes his predecessor Sam Allardyce did a 'great job' during his time as manager of the club.

Allardyce brings his Sunderland team to the Boleyn Ground on Saturday, returning for the first time since his departure at the end of last season.

He took charge of West Ham in June 2011, leading them back to the Premier League at the first attempt following relegation the previous season, and Bilic believes Allardyce deserves credit for his work at the club.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Sam Allardyce the manger of Sunderland reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Sund
Image: Allardyce's Sunderland have lost just one of their last four matches

"Sam did great for West Ham," he said. "He has managed for 20 years very successfully, and he took West Ham at a moment when we were in the Championship.

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"He got us up straight away and stabilised us in the Premier League, so he did a great job here."

Despite keeping the Hammers in the top division for three years, Allardyce was not offered a contract extension last summer, and was replaced by former West Ham defender Bilic.

Dimitri Payet is embraced by West Ham manager Slaven
Image: Bilic's West Ham are seven points off the top four, with Dimitri Payet (left) playing a key role

Allardyce subsequently replaced Dick Advocaat at Sunderland in October,leading the club to just one point from safety, and Bilic admits he is expecting a difficult outing against his side this weekend. 

"Sunderland are very organised, they are showing not only the quality but the character. They got four points from Liverpool and Manchester United.

"There is still a long way to for them, but they have a big chance to stay in the league.

Cheikhou Kouyate is shown a straight red card by referee Jonathan Moss
Image: Cheikhou Kouyate's red card at Blackburn has been rescinded by the FA

Bilic is also delighted to have Cheikhou Kouyate available for the match. The midfielder was sent off in last week's FA Cup win at Blackburn, but will be in the squad after having the red card rescinded.

"It was obvious that Cheikhou's red card would be overturned, because it wasn't a bad challenge and it wasn't a goalscoring opportunity," added Bilic.

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