Sam Allardyce has backed new signing Kevin Nolan to galvanise the West Ham United squad next season after the heartbreak of relegation. 

The former Bolton boss has been re-united with his former Trotters’ skipper after making Nolan his first signing as Hammers chief, bringing the 28-year-old to the Boleyn Ground from Newcastle for £3 million plus add-ons.

A comparison to West Ham legend Billy Bonds has even been made by the old Blackburn Rovers boss, who is confident Nolan can play a crucial part in helping the club return to the Barclays Premier League.

"He is a great leader on and off the field. It is very important that we get a team spirit and unity," Allardyce told the official West Ham website.

"He could be that [Bonds-style character], but I don't want to put too much pressure on him.

"He is in the prime of his career. He has chosen to pay me a really good honour. Not just that he wants to play for West Ham but that he wants to play for me again because he enjoyed his time. Hopefully we will both benefit by that."

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