The Development Squad will be aiming for their first win of 2014 when they take on Southampton in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League at Rush Green on Friday night.

The side enjoyed a strong start to the league campaign, winning six of their first nine matches before the New Year but since then things have not gone in their favour.

Defeats to West Bromwich Albion, Fulham and a 2-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday night have made for a winless start to the New Year and coach Nick Haycock is hoping for better against the Saints.

He told whufc.com: "The big thing for me on Friday night will be how they get after the ball. I want them to be a little bit quicker, sharper and aggressive when we haven't got the ball.

"If they can get those things right then you'll start to see these players playing the game we know they can play on a more consistent basis."

Haycock's team has taken on a younger look recently with the coach keen to hand opportunities to some of the Club's Under-18 contingent.

Kieran Bywater, Kyle Knoyle, Lewis Page and Moses Makasi all featured against the Red Devils and Haycock feels the match was a good experience for the players despite the result.

"It's a wonderful stadium to play in [Old Trafford] and a fantastic experience for the young team that we put out. There's a plan in the Academy at the minute, as you saw with the Under-16 team Steve Potts put out over the weekend, we're pushing players on a level now.

"Challenging them to play at an older age group to see what they're capable of because we've got a belief that we have to get boys playing league football earlier than they currently are.

"The U21 league for me now is for 18, 19-year-olds and the odd 16 or 17-year-old that is capable of advancing themselves on. What we're seeing at the moment is the growth of a new team.

Southampton travel to Rush Green looking to move above the Hammers, who they currently trail by one point going into Friday night's clash.

Haycock's team currently occupy seventh place in the table but could move up to fifth with a win over the Saints.

Supporters can watch the Development Squad play Southampton on Friday night. Kick-off at Rush Green Stadium is at 7pm, with FREE entry for Season Ticket Holders. Other supporters can gain admission for just £3 Adults and £1 Concessions.