U18s face Chelsea test

Tony Carr's West Ham United Under-18s make the short trip across London on Friday to face third-placed Chelsea in the Barclays Premier Academy League.

Carr's side go into the game on a run of mixed league form. Having beaten Southampton 6-1 away, they then lost their next two games before triumphing over Fulham and drawing 1-1 at home to Norwich City last Saturday.

Ahmed Abdulla scored the side's goal in that game to take his tally to two goals in the space of five days following his strike against Nottingham Forest in the FA Youth Cup earlier that week. His manger is sure the strikes will benefit the forward. Carr said: "It was Ahmed's second goal in two games so was very good for his confidence. We need to start ratching up that goals ratio for the team but it was a very spirited display."

Ollie Lee was again impressive in a central midfield role against the Canaries, while Matthew Fry continued to show how much he is progressing in central defence. The academy director is now hoping they can both take their fine form in to the match at Chelsea's Cobham training ground. 

"Ollie Lee played well and gave a real driving performance from midfield on Saturday and Matty Fry was solid at the back and steadied us defensively. Fry marshalling the defence and Ollie Lee driving us forward were the real plus points for me."

Carr's selection choices were depleted for Saturday's game as Peter Loveday, Balint Bajner, Adam Lee and Tony Brookes were all injured, although he hopes to have some of them back in time for Friday's fixture. "We had two very tiring games in a short space of time. We had a couple that didn't start on Saturday and a couple got injured during the game and we were on our last legs by the end."

Carr admits he had a bit of job building the players up after the disappointment of losing at Forest in the third round of the FA Youth Cup. "The boys were very low after Forest, it's been hard picking them up off the ground after that, but, once again, they worked hard and I couldn't fault the effort of the team, we just need to make sure we take more of the chances we create.

"We're disappointed we didn't get three points on Saturday but they were bigger and had more strength than us and they were always in the game. A point was a small step forward after the disappointment of Forest."