WEST Ham manager Sam Allardyce has conceded that Saints will win the Championship title.
The Hammers are currently third and trail Nigel Adkins' league leaders by nine points.
They can close that gap to six if they win their game in hand against Peterborough tonight. But Allardyce doesn't believe there is enough time left in order to catch Saints.
Instead, he is more interested in overhauling second-placed Reading, who West Ham are four points behind.
They can cut that deficit to a single point tonight, ahead of a crunch meeting with the Royals at Upton Park this weekend.
When asked about hopes of winning the title, Allardyce said: “I think that’s gone now. I can’t see Southampton losing three or four on the trot for us to make up those points.
“We’ve slipped up, they haven’t and credit to them because they have been there all season.
"If we deliver eight clean sheets in our last eight games, I think we’ll go up automatically – but we’ve had seven draws and three wins in our last 10 games when it should have been the other way round.
“It’s costing us dear, but we are still in with a shout if we turn the draws into victories."