Nick Haycock is adamant that the environment at Rush Green is working wonders for the Development Squad, as he readies his young charges for Friday's Barclays U21 Premier League Elite Group clash with Southampton.

West Ham United's U21s have already chalked up six home wins this term and Haycock envisages plenty more success on their own patch before the season's end, starting with Friday's showdown with the Saints.

Southampton, meanwhile, have endured a tough start to the Elite Group, with just two points to show from their first four outings. Haycock, however, is taking little notice of the Saints' results, insisting another tough test lies in wait for his side.

"There's a way of playing, a way we do things and Southampton play the right way," Haycock told West Ham TV. "You don't know what type of teams they've put out. We've been incredibly young, with eight youth-team players in a squad of 16 last week. That's the way we do it, Southampton may be similar, playing against more experienced teams. But the players are getting that extra challenge.

"Southampton will come here, they might not fancy it, but that's the hand they have been dealt, they will try to play their football. But I'm confident if we put the work rate and commitment in, with the added bit of quality where we need it, another victory's certainly possible."

As for success at Rush Green, Haycock is not the least bit surprised that home advantage is proving pivotal, though he is intent on replicating that winning feeling on their travels.

"Both when I played and at all levels where I've been involved with coaching young players, they always feel better when they're at home," he added. "If you look at the first team at home, they have been fantastic all season.

"I felt the vibe before the game against West Brom. It was a little bit different against Tottenham, we didn't get out the traps, we didn't start as well and sometimes that's part of their development. The preparation, an hour-and-a-half before kick-off, should be the same whether you're at home or away, but certainly I can see the ground at Rush Green seems to be an environment that the boys look forward to playing in."

Elsewhere, Haycock is preparing for a slight reshuffle, with one or two players still with the first team in Dubai. But the U21s boss has no concerns about mixing things up, in the knowledge that his squad are no strangers to change.

"The boys are doing well. The job I've got is to prepare players in whatever system and whatever tactics we put out in the game. We've played different ways in the games at different stages of the games so far, so we've got an adaptable squad. Obviously, one or two have gone with the first team out to Dubai, to be with the first team, which is great for us. But it will give us a chance [to bring in new faces] and they're coming into a confident dressing room."

To see the entirety of Haycock's interview, in which he discusses mid-season player reviews and plenty more besides, login or subscribe to West Ham TV.

Kick-off is set for 7pm at Rush Green on Friday, where admission is £3 for Adults and £1 for Under-16s, while Season Ticket Holders will be admitted free of charge.

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