Nocerino must make special start

WEST Ham boss Sam Allardyce has challenged Italy midfielder Antonio Nocerino to make an instant impact against Chelsea tomorrow night but revealed fellow loan signing Marco Borriello is not yet ready to make his debut.

Nocerino, described by Allardyce as a “box-to-box midfielder”, is set to go straight into the squad after completing his temporary move from AC Milan at the weekend.

The 28-year-old trained alongside his new team-mates for the first time yesterday, as did Borriello, though the bulldozing centre-forward, on loan from Roma, is set to miss the trip to Stamford Bridge due to a lack of match fitness.

The Hammers travel across London desperate to improve on a run of five points from nine games which has seen them slump into the relegation zone, and Allardyce stressed Nocerino must hit the ground running.

He said: “There’s always a settling in period, but it has to be very quickly because of the window we’re in and because of the games coming thick and fast. We hope it’s going to be a quick integration.

“When you play in this league you need intelligence. What goes between the ears is the most important thing and certainly he’s an intelligent footballer and that’s what we’re looking forward to him hopefully bringing.”

Borriello – banned for three months in 2007 after a positive test for steroids that he blamed on treatment for a sexually transmitted infection – has scored just once in 11 Serie A matches this term. But Allardyce is confident the 31-year-old can soon rediscover his goalscoring touch at Upton Park.

He added: “It’s about getting him on the field and talking about nothing else other than scoring goals. This is what we need now.”