Most West Ham United supporters will want to quickly forget about the Capital One Cup third-round defeat by Wigan Athletic - but Dylan Tombides will never forget it.

The Australian forward was handed his first-team debut as a late substitute against the Latics, 15 months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Showing incredible bravery and commitment and a typically positive attitude, Tombides has contined to train while undergoing treatment, impressing his coaches and team-mates alike with his infectious enthusiasm and non-stop banter.

A hugely-talented striker, Tombides has caught the eye in training, appearing for the Development Squad in last Friday's 4-1 win over Arsenal before being given a chance to impress at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday evening,  after Sam Allardyce sent him on to the pitch in front of 25,000 supporters

"It was a definitely a big moment for me," said the Perth-born teenager. "I was obviously very happy. It's what every youngster wants - to make his debut for the first team. It was even better to do it at Upton Park in front of thousands of fans. I was really happy.

"It's now about getting another cap, but it's one step at a time and I was just happy with what happened on Tuesday night."

Tombides' appearance was made possible by the support network he has had behind him over the past 15 months - most notably mum Tracyee, dad Jim, brother Taylor and Academy physiotherapist Jon Urwin.

Tracylee and Urwin were at Tuesday's game, while Jim and Taylor sent their message of support from Iran, where the Hammers youth-team midfielder is representing Austalia at the AFC Under-16 Championship finals.

Dylan Tombides

"Jon has been fantastic and has been there all the way through. He has been with me at every oncology meeting I have had with doctors. He's been absolutely fantastic. My Mum will support me no matter what I also have to give a special mention to my Dad and brother, who have been there for me as well. Due to Taylor's international commitments they are away in Iran and I'd like to wish him good luck!

"Taylor is an up-and-coming player. I like him and, more importantly, Tony Carr likes him! He's a really hard worker and does his bit for the team. That's what you look for in a player - someone who looks out for the team rather than themselves."

At the club, Tombides has also received plenty of support from his team-mates - most notably best pal George Moncur, who made his own first-team debut in the Capital One Cup second-round win over Crewe Alexandra.

"I've enjoyed the laughs. Moncs is a top man and we get along great and it's just good to be back having banter with everyone."

Having returned to training, the 18-year-old is also enjoying being part of a Development Squad that currently sit top of Barclays U21 Premier League Group 1. Having played alongside the likes of Rob Hall, Matthias Fanimo, Blair Turgott and Moncur for the past few seasons, Tombides has not been surprised by the strong start.

"It's fantastic. Several youngsters were on the pitch on Tuesday and several more were on the bench so they are always nipping away at the manager hoping to be involved. They will get their chances because they are all really good players."