West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has warned his side every team in the npower Championship will be gunning for them this season.
The Hammers start their bid for an immediate return to the Premier League against fellow promotion hopefuls Cardiff at Upton Park on Sunday. Allardyce has so far managed to keep hold of England internationals Scott Parker, Robert Green and Carlton Cole, but the new boss admitted the division would be far from easy for his side.
Allardyce said: ""We are the favourites, the big boys in this league and I have told the players 'Everyone wants your scalp, you are going to have to live up to your reputation from day one because they are going to want to turn you over. They are all going to play better, they are all going to play their best and try their hardest when they play against us'."
He added: "A club like this shouldn't be anything other than favourites. The only way to test if we are going to be good enough is to start the season and play the first five to 10 matches.
"That will be a big indication of where we will be or how good we will be. I personally think the players are good enough but they have to cope with a different division played in a different way."
Allardyce has already strengthened his side with the signings of Kevin Nolan and Matt Taylor, and he revealed the club had made an offer to former Aston Villa striker John Carew.
"Yes there has been interest in John," he added.
"We have had a chat with him, but he has got a number of opportunities and offers on the table. He is a clever and good player. If he chooses us we will be delighted."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.