With Diafra Sakho suffering a back problem and rumours that Enner Valencia is carrying a knock, Allardyce is looking at Andy Carroll very closely.
Writing in his London Evening Standard column today he said: “He played a full 90 minutes in a friendly against Fulham during the international break and his ankle felt fine.
He still needs more game time, though, and he will have to get that at the highest level, not as happens in pre-season when you can feel your way in.”
But he admitted: “That heightens the risk of picking up another new injury but you have to try to manage things as best you can, either by saying that’s enough, if he has started, or the time is right for you to go on and do something, if he is on the substitutes’ bench.
“Andy says he is ready for 90 minutes, as I would expect him to, but it’s not really his decision. I have to make the judgment and think long term because we can’t suffer like we’ve been doing for the last two seasons, when we’ve had significant injuries mid-season and had a poor spell of results.
My job is to make sure that doesn’t happen again and it won’t if we manage to keep the players fit.
The schedule becomes increasingly demanding as we move towards Christmas and it makes sense to utilise the whole squad. If we do that, though, we have to be prepared to take the criticism that comes our way, sometimes from ex-players who have no knowledge of the circumstances.
Yes, you can play the same team four times in eight days but either they’ll be dead on their feet at the end or you will pick up half a dozen injuries.