If you take a step back and look at how far we’ve come since Sam Allardyce replaced Avram Grant as manager then you do wonder why he gets as much stick as he does.

Big Sam has never been the type of manager to wow fans with his attacking style of football, but he is a manager with a reputation of getting results and doing exactly what’s asked of him.

He was tasked with getting us back up to the Premier League in one season and then establishing us in the middle of the Premier League. He did both, albeit with a few bumps along the way, and then delivered the attacking football asked of him last summer.

So, despite a slip in form and some disappointing performances, Allardyce has been defending the job he has done over the last four years, but also isn’t surprised by some fans calling for his head.

He said: “For me, I sit in this seat to do my job to the best of my ability.

“Have I delivered what I have been asked to deliver? Yes. Would I do anything different, yes, but have we grown the club? Yes.

“Have we got a better team going towards the new stadium? Yes. Is it a younger team? Yes. Do we create more entertainment? Yes.

“When results don’t go as well, criticism comes your way but we forget how much praise we get too.

“We have had far more praise than criticism from what we have achieved. Of course we are disappointed in results, but the performances have been right up there. But only the top line matters.”

A win against Stoke this afternoon would ease the calls for his dismissal and could spark a strong end to the season, which might just earn him a new contract at the club.