Youngsters Start Campaign

West Ham begin their assault on the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night against minnows Oadby Town with Academy boss Tony Carr promising he will treat them with "every respect."

"We hope we can go a bit further in it this year after being knocked out by the eventual finalists Everton last season," he says.

"We are not going to take anything for granted and we are going to treat them with the utmost respect. Hopefully it will not be a banana skin.

"Two big clubs have already gone out to so-called lesser teams with Ipswich losing to Notts. County and Liverpool losing at home to Barnsley.

"Upsets are always on the cards at youth level because of the nature of the boys involved.

"Oadby have already knocked out Kidderminster and Northampton and we just hope they won't make it a third with our scalp.

"I hope they enjoy the experience, treating them with every courtesy, but I hope we do what we have to do on the pitch and get through to the next round.

The visitors to Upton Park are skippered by a first team defender - the magnificently named Steve Towers.

Reports that Graeme Carrick is out of the tie have proven inaccurate as he is named in the squad for the game, which kicks off at 7.15pm.

The winners of the tie face either Fulham or another non-league side, Dulwich Hamlet, at home in the fourth round of the competition, and the game will be played before 25 January 2003.

As for the first team's plight, Tony adds: "We have seen it before and I remember Harry Redknapp being in a desperate situation in the middle of February when he bought Hartson and Kitson a few years back.

"I am not saying we want to be in that situation in February but we just have to get that first home win and hopefully the lift-off we need.

"But the longer it goes on without that people obviously get itchy and nervous about it.

"We have obviously not done what we need to do and we have to do better, but the ability is proven as we have the same players we did last season when we finished seventh.

"I know for a fact they are all 100% behind the manager and coaching staff. Let's hope they can put that faith in everybody towards getting what the fans want, that win.

"I don't know what Glenn can and can't do in the transfer market but all I know is he has been looking and watching players with the coaching staff.

"He, Roger, Paul, and Ted Pearce have been abroad on a number of occasions monitoring players so I am sure, if he gets the go-ahead to sign anybody whether for a fee or on loan, we will have names ready to pounce on."

Squad: Sealey, McClenahan, Tattam, Laws, Ferdinand, Lumsden, Akinsete, G.Carrick, Pearson, Morris, M.Cole, Blewitt, Marrable, Noble, Collington, Wright.