James Loses Count

Young Hammers striker James Allen has scored so many goals this season he can't actually remember the exact figure!

James, who scored a brace on his reserve team debut against Charlton last week after coming on at half-time for Freddie Eastwood, says: "I think I have scored 16 in the under-19s, that's in about 14 games, so I am pleased with that."

The next step is, of course, to transfer that prolific scoring rate into the reserves on a regular level and on the evidence of his first game for the second string he is well equipped to do so.

"It has been a long time. I have got there now, but it is just the start," he says.

"It is much faster, the players are more experienced as well having played in the Premiership, and it is a lot stronger.

"I was nervous at first but I got my first goal then I started enjoying it. All the players were helping me through it and encouraging me, and I was pleased overall."

Amongst the first to congratulate him was Jermain Defoe, whose response when hearing of James' brace had a one word response: "Quality!"

Praise indeed, and James adds: "Jermain said well done to me and said he'd better watch his back!

"I played with him for a little while - he has come so far in such a short space of time.

"I listen to the things he says and try and put it into my game. Every time he touches the ball he scores.

"Hopefully I can play some more games in the reserves and make the starting position in the reserve side's starting 11."

Meanwhile, the under-19s now face Wolves away on April 20, and Aston Villa away on March 23, while the under-17s are at Wolves on March 9 and at home to Aston Villa on March 5.