Hammers start defender negotiations

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Sam Allardyce is 'optimistic' West Ham can tie James Tomkins down to a new long-term contract with the club.

The 22-year-old centre-back has reportedly been attracting interest from Queens Park Rangers after a number of imposing performances in the Npower Championship.

Allardyce has certainly been impressed with the exploits of Tomkins during the former's short tenure at Upton Park and is desperate to keep him at the club.

And the Hammers boss confirmed the club have begun negotiations with the former England under-21 defender regarding an improve deal.

"James is not one of those that is running short of a contract term," Allardyce told talkSPORT.

"We have been negotiating with him and will continue that in January to get a conclusion on extending that. I am optimistic.

"We are working with a very talented but small squad of players. We can ill afford to lose any players at this stage of the season to any of the clubs in the Premier League."

West Ham could go top of the Npower Championship on Tuesday night if they beat Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

West Ham United

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