Dan Potts insists Monday's Barclays Under-21 Premier League Elite Group clash at Liverpool is now 'vital' in their pursuit of a top-three finish, as West Ham United bid for a first win in five.

The Hammers succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at Altrincham against Manchester United last time out, their third successive fruitless away day in the competition's second phase.

Eighteen-year-old Potts, however, expects his teammates to come back fighting as they hope to breathe fresh life into their campaign with three points at Liverpool's Kirkby Academy.

"Monday's vital now," Potts told West Ham TV. "We've been on a bit of a bad run, but we'll definitely be going there to bring back all three points, that's for sure.

"We all know the top three is where we want to be and with it being so tight at the moment, it's just a matter of getting the points on the board."

Victory in Monday's 2pm kick-off would lift the Hammers above Liverpool and, for the time being at least, into third. Boss Nick Haycock, meanwhile, is under no illusions of the size of the task at hand, up against one of the country's elite clubs.

"They're a good passing side," Haycock explained. I respect coach Alex Inglethorpe highly, with what he achieved previously at Tottenham Hotspur and now at Liverpool as well.

"We're playing against the big boys in our eyes. We're up against the top six teams, who are looking for Champions League football and their youth setups are no different. That's what we've got to compete with.

"We're delighted [to be in the Elite Group] and we'd always prefer to be in these games. The results might not be going our way at the minute, but what the boys get out of these experiences is paramount for their development."

West Bromwich Albion