Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur: Gambles and focus needed as two decades of struggle 'live or die' on Sunday
It is why he is prepared to take gambles – just not reckless ones – with player fitness, and determined not to lose focus when Tottenham Hotspur visit Elland Road.
That Harry Kane is potentially playing his last game for “his” club is nothing but a sub-plot.
Sunday is all about whether Leeds retain the Premier League place they spent 16 years fighting to get back and the last three to keep.
Without their first win in nine matches, the Whites will go down.
Get it, and they will stay up only if Leicester City cannot win at home to West Ham United, and with a favour from Bournemouth at Everton. An away win will rescue Leeds, a draw will do if they beat Spurs – chasing a Europa Conference League spot – by three clear goals.
Twelve months ago chairman Andrea Radrizzani promised this would not happen after Leeds, ninth in 2020-21, went into the final day of the next Premier League season relying on others to stay in the division. But here we are.
If Leeds are demoted to the Championship there will be depressingly little to show for it.
Marcelo Bielsa's legacy burnt out and Jesse Marsch was the wrong choice to rebuild it. Hapless Javi Gracia lasted just 12 games as coach and Leeds's third manager this term (if you discount caretaker Michael Skubala) will not commit beyond it until he knows Leeds's status.
Director of football Victor Orta, who tried to buy players for the future but misjudged too many signings for the present to the point where the team is still over-reliant on Bielsa's Championship-winning core, left last month.
January's £35m club record signing Georginio Rutter cannot get a game even as a substitute. Big summer signings Brenden Aaronson and Luis Sinisterra have not been robust enough for English football.
The young goalkeeper who was first choice under Bielsa, Marsch, Skubala and Gracia – Illan Meslier – had to be dropped for his own good after a breakdown in his confidence.
The bulldozers have not moved in to start the Elland Road rebuild promised after two or three top-flight seasons, and the club's ownership is in doubt. Radrizzani spent potentially his last week as a Premier League chairman trying to buy Serie B-bound Sampdoria. San Francisco 49ers Enterprises have an option to increase their 44 per cent shareholding to a controlling one by January but the price is predicated on Premier League football.
There will be no 2004-style financial meltdown if relegation comes this time but it is still vital it does not so the club can rebuild if not from a position of strength, then at least less weakness. Even with long odds, there is a chance.
For Allardyce that could mean risking on the fitness of Rodrigo – one of the club's first post-promotion signings – and Patrick Bamford – a figurehead of the Bielsa days.
Rodrigo has plantar fasciitis and Bamford strained his hamstring at West Ham United last week, when Allardyce gloomily said afterwards Leeds had little chance of winning without either.
But Rodrigo took part in Friday's training session at Elland Road.
"Patrick, we're going to give him certainly until Saturday to see where where we're at," confirmed Allardyce.
"We are not overwhelmed by strikers but it will be what it'll be.
"I would gamble on anyone's fitness if they want to play and try to make a contribution to help us win the game. They can have plenty of time to recover.
"(But) if the medical staff told me it's too risky I wouldn't put a player's career or future at risk."
Allardyce does not want to get wrapped up in events at Goodison Park and the King Power Stadium.
"The fans'll tell us what the score is," he says.
"The only focus for the players is to win the game.
"I'll be adjusting to what's happening on the field. Somebody else will have that distraction and I'll tell them on the day whether I want to hear or not.
"I don't want to hear that somebody's done something, change something on the basis of that and it makes the team worse. I want to decide my substitutions on what we're doing, not what's happening elsewhere."
Rodrigo, Junior Firpo (back from suspension), Pascal Struijk, Robin Koch, Jack Harrison, Sam Greenwood and Liam Cooper played in last season's final-day escape at Brentford – Harrison scored the winner – and Allardyce is hoping that helps a year on.
"It's a different squad of players but a lot of the players here did experience that so I would expect them to come up with the goods on Sunday," he says. "We're going to live or die on Sunday.
"We hope we can do two things – if we are to win we need a clean sheet because we are not a prolific goalscoring team, and then try and win by as many goals as we can.
"Controlled aggression and composure particularly in possession is a necessity. Tottenham's defensive unit is a weakness as we saw against Brentford."
All Sunday's games kick off at 4.30pm.