West Ham United Development Squad will take part in the new Barclays Under-21 Premier League in 2012/13.

The Hammers have been placed in Group 1 alongside Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Norwich, Reading and West Bromwich Albion in the new competition, which will get underway with the visit of the Royals to Rush Green on Friday 17 August.

Ian Hendon's side are scheduled to play the vast majority of their home matches at Rush Green Stadium, which the Development Squad opened by visiting Grays Athletic earlier this month.

Rush Green will play host to West Ham's opening fixture of the 2012/13 campaign on the evening of Friday 17 August - just hours before the Hammers' first team open their Barclays Premier League campaign at the Boleyn Ground.

With all seven home First Group Stage fixtures kicking-off at 7pm, supporters of all ages should have a fantastic opportunity to see the club's promising youngsters in action. The likes of Republic of Ireland age-group internationals Eoin Wearen and Kieran Sadlier, England age-group internationals George Moncur, Matthias Fanimo and Blair Turgott, United States Under-23 midfielder Sebastian Lletget and prolific forward Elliot Lee (pictured) will all be eager to take the next step towards making their first-team debuts this season.

Wherever West Ham finish in Group 1, they will go forward to a second group stage after Christmas, from where they could qualify for the end-of-season play-offs and final.

Barclays Under-21 Premier League 2012/13 Group 1 fixtures

Date

Opposition

H/A

Comp

Kick-off

Venue

17 Aug

Reading

H

FGS

7pm

Rush Green Stadium

26 Aug

Everton

A

FGS

1pm

Finch Farm

3 Sep

Bolton Wanderers

H

FGS

7pm

Boleyn Ground

16 Sep

West Bromwich Albion

A

FGS

2pm

The Hawthorns

21 Sep

Arsenal

H

FGS

7pm

Rush Green Stadium

28 Sep

Norwich City

H

FGS

7pm

Rush Green Stadium

8 Oct

Blackburn Rovers

A

FGS

7pm

Leigh Sports Village

22 Oct

Bolton Wanderers

A

FGS

7pm

Lancashire FA

26 Oct

Everton

H

FGS

7pm

Rush Green Stadium

2 Nov

Reading

A

FGS

1pm

Hogwood Park

9 Nov

Arsenal

A

FGS

1pm

London Colney

16 Nov

West Bromwich Albion

H

FGS

7pm

Rush Green Stadium

26 Nov

Norwich City

A

FGS

2pm

Norfolk FA

30 Nov

Blackburn Rovers

H

FGS

7pm

Rush Green Stadium

*All fixtures subject to change

The top two sides and two best third-place teams from three First Group Stage groups will go forward to the Elite Group Stage.

The other third-place team, fourth and fifth-place teams and best sixth-place teams will go forward to Tier One Stage. The two other sixth-place teams, seventh and eighth-place teams will go forward to Tier Two Stage.

The Tier One and Tier Two winners will play-off to meet the winners of the Elite Group in one semi-final, while the second and third-place Elite Group finishers will contest the other. The winners of the two semi-finals will contest the final.

Admission prices for home fixtures have yet to be confirmed. Keep a close eye on whufc.com for full details.

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