Jordan Spence insists there is no risk of West Ham United's Development Squad being ring rusty against Tottenham Hotspur at the Boleyn Ground on Monday evening, despite upward of three weeks without a competitive fixture.
The Hammers last took to the field in a 1-1 Barclays Under-21 Premier League Elite Group draw with Arsenal back on 15 March, with last Sunday's proposed trip to West Bromwich Albion falling foul of the weather.
Ironically, the recent dearth of game time follows a run of five games in 18 days, but the 22-year-old defender maintains it has been three weeks well spent.
Kick-off on Monday night is set for 7pm at the Boleyn Ground. Admission is free for Season Ticket Holders, just £3 for Adults and £1 for Concessions.
"I think for most of the Development Squad the focus is on breaking into the first team," he told West Ham TV. "That means it creates a different focus throughout these quiet weeks, being amongst the first-team squad, training hard and trying to be ready in any event we can be involved.
"Having quiet periods is part and parcel of it. I think the new Under-21 league has signalled a step forward in terms of the level of football and having regular fixtures, so maybe the last couple of weeks have been a bit more like the old system."
Monday's visitors, Tottenham Hotspur, are currently a formidable ten points clear at the summit of the Elite Group, having won all but two of their ten outings. What's more, Spurs' second string have notched 32 times to date, an attack that Spence plans to blunt come Monday evening.
"It's going to be a tough game," he added. "But we actually acquitted ourselves really well when we played at their training ground, not too long ago, and deserved more than we got.
"Every game, as we've seen, because we are in the top echelon of Under-21 football, is going to be difficult. But we'll be ready and hopefully we'll be able to win the game.
"It's a challenge we all look forward to. Like I said, it's about development football, and what we always stress is the step up to play first-team football. So the better the opposition, the better the preparation is."
For Nick Haycock's Hammers, Monday presents another opportunity to get back to winning ways, following three draws and three defeats in the last six. West Ham have accumulated nine points to date, a tally that Spence believes is scant reward for their performances.
"I think that for the first half of the season we probably deserved more points than we got," he continued. "But you can't say that in football, you've got what you've got and the table doesn't lie. So hopefully, in this latter period of the season, if we can put together a run, then we'll see where it takes us.
"It's always good to be at the Boleyn Ground, to be under the watchful eye of those who regularly spectate and a few more. Hopefully we can acquit ourselves as well as we have done and hopefully it will yield a positive result."