Dan Potts is hoping to propel himself back into first-team action for West Ham United.

Still just 18, the left-sided defender made four appearances for Sam Allardyce's side last season and featured in two Capital One Cup ties earlier this term. Having impressed on his regular run-outs for the Development Squad, Potts is now eyeing a Barclays Premier League debut.

"The first-team is where I want to be," he said. "I played a few games in the Championship but now we are in the top flight performances need to be that little bit higher.

"I am training with the first-team and I feel that it is improving my game every day so hopefully I will be back in the squad soon because that is where the experience is going to come."

For now, Potts is concentrating on Friday's Barclays U21 Premier League fixture at Arsenal and looking to bounce back from last week's 3-0 defeat at Reading.

"It was obviously a very disappointing performance and a poor result but we matched them in the first-half until we lost our concentration and conceded a sloppy goal from a set piece. Our defending has been excellent from set pieces in recent weeks and we knew we were still in the game at half-time, but then we lost our concentration once more and conceded from a corner."

The defender also believes that bad luck played its part with Reading scoring at crucial times in the game.

"Their second goal came at a really bad time for us because we were searching for a route back into the game and it came as a real sucker-punch. Third goal on the counter was the same. We have been performing very well as a team but on Friday there were periods of the game where we were not as together as we have been and that was definitely part of our downfall."

Jordan Spence, Leo Chambers and Rob Hall all missed the defeat due to being away on first-team duty, but Potts refused to believe there absence directly resulted in the Development Squad's downfall.

"We were without three very good players and if you take three good players out of any team it will have an impact but they were not with us the previous week either and we beat Everton [1-0].

"It was the same team on Friday but Reading showed us that, if you are not on your game, you will be punished. They also had some very good senior players on show [in the shape of Alex Pearce, Adam Le Fondre and Ian Harte].

"We came up against some experienced Premier League players on Friday but that type of player is who we need to match if we want to be playing at the top level. It was a difficult afternoon but playing against established players will only benefit us and help us to improve in the future."

Next up for Ian Hendon's side is a trip to Arsenal on Friday afternoon, with kick-off at 1pm. The Gunners sit second in the Group 1 table, two points behind the Hammers, so Potts knows he and his team-mates will have to rise to the challenge at London Colney.

"It is a very big game against Arsenal this week because when they came to Rush Green we put in one of our best performances of the season and won 4-1, so they will be looking for revenge. Like Reading, Arsenal are also near the top of the league. It will be a tough game but we know what they are about and how they like to play, so hopefully we can come away with a positive result."

Following Friday's fixture, Potts will report for international duty after he and Blair Turgott were selected in Noel Blake's England Under-19 squad to face Finland in Telford on 13 November. The teenager is hoping to impress and earn his place for the UEFA European U19 Championship Elite Round qualifiers next year.

"Blair and I have been selected by the England Under-19s to play in a friendly against Finland and it will be very nice to be involved again after a good experience earlier this season against Germany. I was also selected to play in the EURO qualifiers but was held back by the club [as I was in the first-team squad]. Thankfully, the lads did qualify and I hope to be involved in the tournament at the end of the season."

Stoke City