West Ham United will start their FA Youth Cup challenge with a third-round tie at Aldershot Town on Monday evening.

The Hammers, who have won the competition three times in their history, will take on The Shots for the second time in three seasons, having overcome the same opposition 5-0 at the third-round stage in December 2010.

Last season, West Ham beat Brighton and Hove Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers before being edged out by Chelsea on penalties in the fifth round. Academy Director Tony Carr MBE is looking forward to a similarly successful run this time around.

"The FA Youth Cup is something that every club looks forward to," confirmed Carr. "It's a knockout competition and to get to the latter stages would be a great achievement.

"Most of the ties are played in the club's main stadiums and it's a good test for where you can come as a team.

"It's amazing that we'll be playing Aldershot for the third time in successive seasons - we've played them in the Youth Cup and then last season in the League Cup at first-team level at home, but this time it will be away at their stadium."

Carr and his coaching staff have already watched Aldershot in action and they know that the Football League Youth Alliance South East division side will be eager to upset their Barclays U18 Premier League opponents.

"We watched them beat Leyton Orient in the second round and it was a very even game, it must be said. They came from a goal down to win the game 2-1. One thing that must be said is that they have got a really good team spirit and looked very well-organised as a team and everybody worked for each other, as you would expect.

"We cannot take them lightly, because if we do we'll come unstuck. It's one of those games where we have to be on our mettle to get through to the next round, which is obviously our aim.

"We look forward to it and hopefully we can do the job and get through to the fourth round."

The FA Youth Cup will see Carr and Under-18s coach Nick Haycock name their strongest-possible side, but they will have to do without injured England Under-18 defender Leo Chambers.

"We will try to field our strongest team but losing Leo Chambers to a thigh injury that needed surgery and will rule him out for the remainder of the season is a big miss for the team," confirmed Carr.

Chambers was one of a host of Academy products who have made their mark for the Development Squad this season, some of whom have also forced their way into Sam Allardyce's first-team thoughts.

Carr is naturally proud of the success enjoyed by the likes of Chambers, Jordan Spence, Rob Hall, Dan Potts, Matthias Fanimo, George Moncur and Sebastian Lletget in being recognised by Big Sam.

"The Under-21s have done brilliantly with their team being made up of Academy graduates and players almost to a man. It's great to see them top of their group and having already qualified for the Elite Group Stage of the competition.

"All credit to them because their pre-season was not as good in terms of results. However, because they played a lot senior men's teams, it toughened them up and now they are playing Under-21 teams their talents are coming through.

"The good thing was that many of them have got in and around the first-team squad. It all bodes well for the development of young players and the conveyor belt of them coming through. It all bodes well for the second half of the season and long may it continue."

Monday's tie will take place at Aldershot Town's Ebb Stadium at 7pm. Admission prices are set at £3 for Adults and £1 for Concessions.

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