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2013-08-16T12:30:00 Updated 2015-02-19T00:12:12

Potts ready for U18s kick-off

West Ham United U18s manager Steve Potts is relishing Saturday's Barclays U18 Premier League season opener at home to Manchester United.

The Hammers host the Red Devils at Little Heath at 11am, having enjoyed a productive pre-season at home and abroad. Potts' side have enjoyed wins over Leyton Orient, Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace on home soil, while also reaching the final of the prestigious Eurofoot Tournament in Belgium.

Now, the former West Ham defender is hoping to put all that hard work to good use when his youngsters host Paul McGuinness's team.

"We have had a good pre-season where the players have worked hard to build up their fitness," he said. "When the league programme starts they will hopefully be in the right place.

"We will prepare for Manchester United like we have been for any other game. From my point of view, we are in a league where we will find out what everyone is made of.

"It's that standard where if we are loose in certain areas, we will be punished. I think it's a good league to be in because we will make sure that we are never going to be pushovers and it will be a good test for the lads."

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

West Ham will play a grand total of 31 league games this term, 20 against the other ten teams in the Southern Regional League and eleven against the teams in the Northern Regional League. The top two teams in each region will contest the end-of-season semi-finals and final.

Reflecting on the Hammers' final pre-season game, a 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace last weekend, Potts said his team will need to show improvement if they are to get the better of their illustrious visitors.

"I'm pleased with the result, because you can never knock a 2-0 win," he confirmed. "There were parts of the game that I was really pleased about and parts that I wasn't so impressed with. There was a lot of sloppiness that I think we could cut out of our game.

"We probably need to impose ourselves right from the start of the game on teams rather then waiting for it to happen.

"There were good bits and not so good bits. I just think that with the league starting on Saturday, if you're not 100% on your game then your going to get punished in the league we are in. That's what the boys have got to be thinking of."

The game saw West Ham dominate for long periods and Potts was pleased that both Kieran Bywater and Lewis Page managed to get on the scoresheet, believing both players got the rewards they deserved.

"Both goals were brilliant in their own ways," he continued. "The first was a great free kick from Kieran. I've seen him out there practicing them on the training pitch this week so the proof's in the pudding really. That extra bit of hard work can make the difference at the end of the day.

"Lewis had made some really good forward runs throughout the whole game and when the ball fell to him in the box, he finished it really well. I was pleased for both of them."

West Ham United U18: Guzman, Knoyle, Burke (Harney), Onariase, Page, Bywater (Pike), Makasi (Parfitt-Williams), Cullen (Nasha), Amoo (Trialist), Brown (Martins), Mavila (Gogo).

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