Stanislas sets his sights

Junior Stanislas is aiming to make his mark on the first team before the end of the season having had a taste of the senior set-up in recent weeks.

The England Under-19 international has become a regular part of Gianfranco Zola's training sessions and travelled for the Barclays Premier League fixture at Bolton Wanderers last weekend. He was cup-tied in midweek but that meant he could get another good run-out with the reserves as they went down 3-1 to a more experienced Tottenham Hotspur side.

Stanislas, 19, has a dozen games left this season to force his way into Zola's top-flight thinking, and the winger certainly did his cause no harm with three goals in nine games during a recent loan spell at Southend United. "I want to push on in the first team and start being on the bench," he admitted when asked to explain his immediate goals.

"I travelled with the first team the other day. I want to be on the bench, get some game time and come on and get five minutes here and there and get myself in the picture. I am training with the first team. It is good. I was a bit slow to start with but obviously training with those players can only make you better."


In last Tuesday's reserve contest, Stanislas was arguably the most effective of the homegrown Hammers on the pitch and he paid tribute to the young squad that coach Alex Dyer had at his disposal. "The 3-1 doesn't sound so good but we had a young team and they had a few experienced players.

"We played well up to the 80th minute and could have got something from the game," he added before acknowledging the part that Spurs' No10 Adel Taarabt played with his hat-trick. "When you have got a player like that it makes a difference," Stanislas said. "He scored three good goals had good ability and helped them a lot."

Stanislas, who has been at the club for eight years, recognises he has a role to play in helping those following behind. "I just do the best I can and try and help the boys get a good result. All the rest of the boys were youth players and did well. They didn't look nervous, passed the ball well and played the game. They did well."