Keen's Magnificent Seven

KEVIN Keen was delighted with the performance of his young West Ham United Reserve side that held a vastly more experienced Derby County to a goalless draw at Upton Park.

It was the Hammers Reserves' seventh game unbeaten, a record that equals the undefeated sequence of the first-team.

"I was really pleased with our performance," said Kevin, "especially considering the young players we had out there. With the exception of Dusan Kuciak in goal that side could turn out for Tony Carr's Under-18 team, and they did extremely well.

"Derby had some experienced players in their forward line with the likes of Marco Reich, Junior and Lee Holmes, but we defended really well.

"Liam White had a very good game on his first Reserve team start and Ryan Andrews gave his all at left-back. Derby did caused problems, but we handled everything they threw our way and created several very good openings ourselves.

"Hogan Ephraim and David Cowley did well going forward and created some nice moments for us. Unfortunately, we couldn't finish them off, but I was really pleased with our display."

Kevin is full of praise for the way his young team have turned the fortunes of the Reserves around over the second half of the season. Two games into their seven match unbeaten run, the manager set his players a target of going unbeaten until the end of the season, and he has been delighted with their response.

"This unbeaten run has been a huge boost for the players and they've done themselves proud," he said. "When we had gone a couple of games without losing we set ourselves a little challenge of going the season unbeaten.

"It's something the players have really reacted to and their determination against Derby showed just how much it means for them to keep it going.

"It's our goal. We've been talking about it before each game and each time it means that little bit more as we get closer to achieving it.

"There are two games left for us, but Crystal Palace away will be very tough. They're second in the League and look to be a strong side.

"But I can't ask for any more from my players. I was really proud of them against Derby."

Striker Moses Ashikodi suffered a hamstring strain and is doubtful for the Under-18s match against Reading.