WEST Ham boss Sam Allardyce has again been linked with a move for Saints striker Rickie Lambert.

But the Hammers boss admitted shoring up his defence was his main priority during the current transfer window after a humiliating 5-0 FA Cup loss at Championship club Nottingham Forest.

Allardyce has several injuries in his defence and - on today's evidence - few ready to take up the mantle.

He confirmed he was interested in, though not confident, of a move for Manchester City's Joleon Lescott.

"I don't know if Joleon is available, but if it is possible I would like to get him," he confirmed.

Allardyce made no apologies for his decision to place the trip to Nottingham down the pecking order, with the relegation battle the most pressing ambition and a possible - if unlikely - trip to Wembley in the Capital One Cup next down the list.

"My priorities meant I put too many youngsters in and they were not able to withstand Forest's pressure in the last half an hour," he said.

"I picked the team so it is my responsibility. You know what my priorities are: the priorities are the Premier League first and then Capital One Cup.

"It's leg one on Wednesday (against Manchester City) and we need to get back to the second leg with an opportunity to get to Wembley and then get some points at Cardiff.

"My hands are tied behind my back every time I see what's available and the team is almost picking itself.

"It's a disaster at the moment, a total disaster and in certain areas we've not been able to cope."