Development Squad coach Nick Haycock is happy with the progress his team is making in pre-season.

The Under-21s followed up two positive results against senior non-league teams by taking on their Shakhtar Donetsk counterparts in the Absolute Sports Travel Cup on Saturday and emerging with a 0-0 draw.

The Hammers could well have been victorious, with a Kieran Sadlier thunderbolt striking the crossbar before half time, but Haycock was more focused on the strong level of performance against a team further along the pre-season timeline.

"It was a good game," he said. "They called us when I was on holiday and straight away we made every effort to make sure we were part of this tournament.

"We came up to Cambridge for a game last year and they looked after us well. It's a fantastic football club and the organisation today has been fantastic and playing against foreign competition bodes well for us because we're in the European competition this year.

"I was delighted with the performance because Shakhtar are only a week away from the start of their season, so in terms of fitness levels they're probably two or three weeks ahead of where we are.

"We might have been a bit more heavy-legged than them and the tempo of our game wouldn't be quite what it is when we start the season, but I think you saw a good shape, a determination to press the ball where we could, and playing foreign opposition asks different things of you tactically. We had to change a couple of things at half time to make sure we got better pressure on the ball and the lads who played 60 minutes saw the game out to that stage well.

"The team that came on for the last 30 minutes, it's always difficult and we couldn't get that continuity into our game, but that's no disgrace to them.

"Tomorrow [when they face Espanyol] it'll be the reverse, so the lads who came on for the last 30 minutes will probably start tomorrow."

Away from events at Cambridge United's R Costings Abbey Stadium, several members of Haycock's squad have been involved in the first team's pre-season matches this summer, and the coach says it is up to them to continue along their curve of progression.

He added: "I'm delighted for them. I was at Stevenage and I was at Ipswich, and it's always proud for the whole Academy to see the players in the first team.

"We know we've got good players and if they get opportunities they've got to take them and keep knocking on the manager's door.

"That's the message throughout the whole season."

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