Nigel Pearson has strongly defended Sam Allardyce, criticising those who ‘stabbed him in the back’ during his time as Newcastle United manager.

The Hull City boss is reunited with his West Ham United counterpart in this afternoon’s Championship clash at the KC Stadium, with the Hammers bidding to close the five-point gap on leaders Southampton against the sixth-placed Tigers.

Pearson, along with Hull assistant manager Steve Walsh, was part of Allardyce’s staff during his time at the Premier League club and he has used his programme notes to write in support of his former boss.

“Sam worked exceptionally hard at Newcastle to create a professional working environment,” the Tigers manager wrote.

“Although achieving one of the best starts to a Newcastle season in the Premier League, he was stabbed in the back by ex-players working in the hospitality lounges who contributed to his departure.”