Sam Allardyce has his work cut-out after taking over Crystal Palace over the festive period following the sacking of Alan Pardew, and he has his eyes set on a central defender from West Ham United to solve their problems at the back.

Only Swansea City and Hull City have conceded more than the 37 goals Palace have shipped this campaign, and since they changed manager they have picked up just one point.

The man that ‘Big Sam’ seems to have identified as the answer to their defensive woes is James Collins, as reported by Claret and Hugh.

The 33-year-old is contracted to The Hammers until the end of next season and is in his second spell with the club, after signing for £3.5 million from Cardiff City back in 2005.

He has made over 100 appearances since his 2012 move from Aston Villa but is out with a calf injury until mid-January, as he last featured in West Ham’s 5-1 defeat at home to Arsenal at the start of December.

Allardyce’s side were beaten 2-1 by fellow strugglers Swansea on Tuesday evening following a late Angel Rangel goal and are just one point above the bottom three.

Their only point since his appointment came away to Watford on Boxing Day and if they can secure the signature of Collins his experience could be vital in the second half of the season.

He was part of the 2007 West Ham side who beat the drop in dramatic style and if he does make the move to Selhurst Park he could be in for another relegation scrap.

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