Nick Haycock hailed the Development Squad's miserly defensive record, as West Ham United head to Altrincham bidding to shut out Manchester United in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League for a second time in six days.

Friday's goalless draw at the Boleyn Ground marked a third clean sheet in only six Elite Group outings, with the Hammers backline breached just six times thus far.

For West Ham's second string it's a strong platform from which to build, but Haycock accepts that his side will have to be more clinical in the final third if they are to take full advantage.

"If you look at the league table, in terms of goal difference, I think our defensive record stands up against anybody," Haycock told whufc.com. "We've had three clean sheets in six games which would please any manager.

"The disappointing thing is that from the chances we've created, we've not scored as many as we'd have liked. Had we done so, the narrow losses would have turned into draws and wins, which the performances have merited.

"In terms of the defensive display on Friday, I thought both teams cancelled each other out and found it hard to carve out chances. So obviously since the performance we've been doing a lot of work on how we're going to cut Manchester United open when we get possession in the final third.

"From what we've seen, the surface isn't going to be as good as at Upton Park and that will have a bearing on the game. I think there will be more chances and it should be a more open game."

Wednesday's visit to Moss Lane will see the Hammers take to the field for a third time in nine days, a rigorous programme that is stretching a small squad. Haycock, however, has no complaints whatever, insisting the volume of games is par for the course at this level.

"The boys are in good spirits but it's a tough schedule," Haycock told whufc.com. "It works out we've got five games in the space of just 18 days. That's a big ask for a small squad but it's part and parcel of their development.

"If the boys were playing in the Championship, the games come thick and fast, so they have to be used to it. We're keeping the training to a minimum at the minute, just to make sure they've got the energy to play the games."

As for the game itself, Haycock is by no means planning to settle for a point, as he readies his side for another assault on Manchester United's sturdy backline.

"In every game we play, we'll never set up just to the get the point. That's how it turned out the other night because United came on strongly having had the extra 24 hours recovery from their game on Monday, with us having played on Tuesday. Hopefully, with a few days rest over the weekend we can get our attacking game going against what was a resilient Manchester United side.

"They will have a bigger squad to choose from than we will, so they could change their team and freshen things up. But our game plan is to go about our business, be resilient defensively and to try and cause them problems when we're in possession of the ball."

West Bromwich Albion