West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has told his players Tuesday night's Capital One Cup tie against Crewe represents a big opportunity to nail down a regular first-team spot.

The Hammers' go into the second-round meeting on the back of a comprehensive 3-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Swansea. The likes of Alou Diarra and Modibo Maiga have had to make do with limited game time so far this campaign, but manager Allardyce believes the cup tie is the perfect chance for them to force their way into the first XI.

He said: "The players who are disappointed about not playing get the opportunity to play in a very good competition. It tells me where they are and are they staking a claim to be playing as early as Fulham next week. They can go and make a statement to me. I want players to show me they should be playing."

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Crewe Alexandra
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