Steve Potts admits he has been bitten by the coaching bug, as he prepares for Saturday's visit of West Bromwich Albion to Little Heath in the Barclays U18 Premier League Tier One Stage.

Though it has barely been 18 months since he joined the staff at West Ham United's Academy, the Hammers' long-serving full-back is quickly growing accustomed to life on the other side of the touchline.

Following a spell at the helm of the U16s, Potts takes charge of only his third contest as U18s coach on Saturday, having made the step up at the turn of the year.

"All in all I've only been doing it for a year and half and you're forever learning," he said. I played the game for a number of years, but this is the other side of it. It's a big learning curve for me as well. I'm enjoying it, I've grown into it really, I must admit. When I first came in, it gets a grip of you, that's for sure."

Potts' young side head into the weekend's clash bidding to make it two wins out of two in the Barclays Premier League U18 Tier One. Tottenham Hotspur avenged a 1-0 league defeat at the hands of West Ham with a 5-2 FA Youth Cup win at the Boleyn Ground ten days later, but Potts is not envisaging a hangover from that evening.

"Some of the boys have been involved in the Development Squad, but for the majority of the players this will be the first game since [the FA Youth Cup exit]," Potts confirmed. "It was a disappointing result, very disappointing for the boys but they've just got to try and put that behind them and push on to the next game on Saturday.

"The players have been fine. Obviously everyone took a big knock that night, result wise, in such a big competition as the Youth Cup is. We got back in over the next day or two and you can see everyone's disappointment, you can see it in their face, which is natural. But once they've been out training I can't fault them. They've been really training well."

West Ham ran out comprehensive 4-0 winners at home to the Baggies in Group 1 earlier this season, before falling to a 2-0 defeat in November's reverse fixture. Potts, however, insists with the likely change of personnel, that previous encounters are of no great import.

"I think our team make up and the opposition's changes depending on Development Squads and first-team squads, with players getting pulled into those. So I don't think it has much bearing at all. The classic example of that was Tottenham. We played them in the league and then in the cup and obviously got two different results. So I don't think you can read too much into it.

"I just hope we can play to our potential on Saturday, that's the main thing. I personally think there are a number of good players here at this level and levels below. The main thing is pushing the boys as much as we can. Whether they're in the U18s, or hopefully if they're doing well, they get pushed on further into the Development Squad. Obviously the ultimate thing is getting to the first team, and that's all that matters."

Kick-off at Little Heath on Saturday is at 11am, with admission and parking both free of charge.

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