WEST HAM: West Ham legend Julian Dicks said: "Following West Ham’s fantastic win over Newcastle on Sunday, Sam Allardyce’s side are now in sixth place in the Premier League table.

And I can tell you, that is not a fluke, they are there on merit.

Sam has a lot of confidence in his own ability. You can tell that from his press conferences and when he appears on TV. And he’s got some good players at West Ham, the likes of Andy Carroll, Mo Diame, Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble. And with Nolan getting the goals and the team being able to keep them out at the other end then, you are always likely to be able to get a result – and that’s what happened at Newcastle.

I actually don’t think the defence looks great as a back four, but when the other seven players are all doing their bit, it makes them very tough to break down.

If you put the West Ham players up against the Manchester City players and even the Newcastle players, they are probably not man for man better. But football’s not about individual players, it’s about playing as a team.

Stoke come to Upton Park on Monday night and I honestly think that will be West Ham’s biggest test of the season. You know what you are going to get with a Tony Pulis side. They are big, strong and physical. They are not the most attractive of sides. They get the ball into the box at every opportunity and they have real aerial threats.

In the past few weeks, West Ham have been up against the more technical sides like Manchester City and to a lesser extent Newcastle. This will be a game where they are tested in a completely different way.