Carr encouraged by Zola

Tony Carr is excited about how the season is panning out and hopes that a few more of his academy graduates will get their first taste of Premier League action.

Carr is working closely with Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke to help plan the youngsters' course into the first team and the West Ham United academy director is delighted with the new manager's enthusiasm for promoting his talented teenagers. "I think a lot of young players will blossom with Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke with the way they are working them," Carr said.

"Speaking to Gianfranco, he's very much youth-orientated and wants the young players to do well and to give them opportunities. It's my responsibility to ensure that they are good enough and hopefully we are taking steps in that direction."

The likes of Marek Stech, Jordan Spence and Junior Stanislas are all on the verge of joining the six homegrown players at the club who have made their first-team bow - namely James Tomkins, Jack Collison, Mark Noble, Kyel Reid, Zavon Hines and Freddie Sears. Carr is optimistic they will not be the last. "The idea is the youth team every Saturday is the vehicle for young players to develop. 

"Whether we win cups or are top or bottom of the league, the objective is the same and that is to push one or two players into that first team squad and that's the aim this year. We look at Freddie Sears and he's old hat now as he's been with the first team for nearly a year. So we're now looking at the next one or two that can make the step and hopefully by the end of the season one or two of them will have come to the fore."

Carr watched a reserve side featuring ten teenagers came up againt a Fulham side full of internationals last week. United lost the match 4-1 but Carr is sure it will have been a great lesson to the youngsters. "Making the step up to reserve level is part of the process to becoming a professional player. You've got to come out of your comfort zone, play in an open age environment like the reserves and still got to be able to do your stuff. It's all part of the learning process for all the players.

"Winning and losing is good experience for them. I know we lost we 4-1 at Fulham, but in the early part of the game we gave as good as we took but we couldn't keep it going. What you want is an ideal balance with perhaps two or three senior players to play and help them through it. But some days, like it was on last week, you have basically the youth team against their reserves. It was going to be a tough call even before the kick-off."