Neil McDonald has praised the Development Squad for their performances and progress during the first part of the 2012/13 season.

'Macca' regularly attends the Barclays Under-21 Premier League fixtures to check in on Ian Hendon's rising stars and he has been encouraged by what he has seen. Speaking to whufc.com, Macca hailed their 2-0 win against Blackburn Rovers ten days ago - their fifth win in seven games this season.

"Their performances have been absolutely fantastic this season," he said. "I watched them against Blackburn Rovers and they thoroughly deserved their victory.

"They outplayed Blackburn from start to finish and it was a fantastic result. They are all full of confidence, which is great."

Paul McCallum and Matthias Fanimo got the goals that night in a tough contest and Macca was impressed by the maturity of their play.

"It was a hard-fought win and games like that are a massive part of their development. They worked hard for each and it was tough to create chances but when they did they took them. Blackburn hardly got over the half way line in the second half."

Macca is also a firm believer that confidence is key to a player's form and both he and Sam Allardyce are content in the knowledge that the Hammers' youngsters will be in fine fettle should they be needed.

"Winning and playing well within the Development Squad will only breed confidence and help them to integrate into the first team. It is great to see the younger players coming through and playing well and that is why I always attend the games because they are good to watch."

Fanimo, Rob Hall, Dylan Tombides, Danny Potts and Jordan Spence have all featured for Allardyce's side this season and Macca backed more youngsters to do the same before too long.

"We have a couple of players who have already made cameo appearances and they have to play on a consistent basis to get into the team.

"At the moment they are doing just that, which is fantastic because you very rarely get that off young players.

"They work very hard to close the opposition down and keep their shape and they take their chances when they come along. They are also top of the league now and playing very well so long may it continue."

The Development Squad are next in action on Monday night away at Bolton Wanderers. The match will be held at the Lancashire FA, with kick-off at 7pm. whufc.com will have further pre-match build-up over the weekend.