U18s in Palace test

West Ham United Under-18s play host to Crystal Palace on Saturday bidding to end a run of three straight defeats.

Manager Tony Carr is hoping that the hard work put in on the training pitch this week will pay off against the visitors from south London. "We've been working very hard this week as we've got two games coming up, against Palace this week and Chelsea next week and I'm looking forward to us giving a more complete performance," Carr said.

"The results are disappointing but the key area for us is that we have long periods of the game when we are as good if not better than the opposition so we're working hard to put all that together and take another step forward."

Carr has seen the likes of Marek Stech, Junior Stanislas and Jordan Spence move up to join the first-team picture this season while key midfielder Josh Payne is out on loan. While he is delighted to see the youngsters make the step up, it means he often has a less experienced squad to choose from.

"We're a young side, an inexperienced team this year and in our good periods of the game we're not scoring the goals that our players deserve. Then we're getting caught out on set-plays and as the game wears on we're losing our way and losing our shape.

"We've been on the receiving end of three adverse results over the last three games and we're finding it difficult trying to keep clean sheets. We're playing well in parts of the game but can't seem to put 90 minutes together at the moment."

While Carr is optimistic about winning the next two home games, he is not overly concerned with his side's league position. Carr explained: "We're bottom of the league but you can look at that two ways.

"You can have a player playing every week but never plays with the first team or you could be at the bottom of the league and have one or two of the players who go on and make great careers in the game so league tables can lie in that respect. We're not happy being there but I'm not under pressure to win the league or be at the top of the league but the quicker we get off the bottom the better really."

The Academy director is also hoping to welcome back several players that moved up to play for the reserves on Tuesday night. "Some of them will step back down. Sometimes the downside of the reserve league and the youth league is when senior players don't play at the top level, the burden falls with the youth team to play two games in four or five days. But that's part and parcel of what we have to do so three or four will drop down to me and hopefully we can pick some points up."