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2012-09-15T11:00:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:54:57

McCallum making up for lost time

Paul McCallum is looking to continue his superb start to the 2012/13 season when the Development Squad head to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

The 19-year-old striker has bagged three goals in three Barclays Under-21 Premier League fixtures so far this term, helping to fire the Hammers to comprehensive victories over Reading and Everton.

For the former Dulwich Hamlet forward, it has been a case of making up for lost time after he missed the majority of last season after suffering a fractured tibia. With his first professional contract expiring at the end of the present campaign, McCallum has every incentive to maintain his form.

"I'm happy about scoring three goals in three games individually, but collectively I'm really happy for the team because they've been brilliant as well," said McCallum. "We made a couple of changes and lost to Bolton in our third game, but we've got to move on to The Hawthorns on Sunday and hopefully we can get another win.

"Last year, I was injured for the majority of the season, so I've had determination to get back into the squad and do well. It was very important that I had a good year last year, but I couldn't because of my shin. It's made me even more determined to prove this year that I am good enough to be here.

"Playing at big stadia like The Hawthorns is a great experience. Whereas before I was playing in front of a few people, we're playing in front of big crowds and it feels good."

McCallum is part of a group of players who work with Development Squad coach Ian Hendon on a daily basis. The teenager believes that the understanding and team spirit among the club's younger players has been key to their encouraging start.

"I think it's good that we've been put into a reserve league because last year we didn't have a proper league and were playing friendlies here and there. This year we have a proper team and everybody knows their job and straight away it has felt right.

"Having Rob Hall playing behind me has also given me a lot of confidence as well because I know he is always going to be there when I bring the ball down."

As he continues to work on his own game and hones his skills as a targetman, McCallum said he is looking forward to working with England international Andy Carroll on the training pitch.

"Andy Carroll has the aerial game that I am good at and I need to show the gaffer that I can do it as well as the other players and get into the first-team squad.

"When I signed, we were in the Premier League so that gave me a big boost in confidence, but last year my confidence went right down. I've got three goals in three games now and my confidence is high and I want to keep on scoring."

Looking further forward, the striker was named on the substitutes' bench for the Capital One Cup second-round win over Crewe Alexandra. He is hoping for a repeat when the Hammers host Wigan Athletic in the third round on Tuesday 25 September.

"Against Crewe I was disappointed that I didn't get on, but on the other hand I was very happy that I was on the bench. Against Wigan, hopefully if I can get a few goals against West Brom on Sunday, then who knows?"

Sunday's match will be at The Hawthorns, with kick-off at 2pm.

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