Carr to name young side

Tony Carr will field an extra-youthful side for Saturday's FA Premier Academy League visit of Portsmouth to Little Heath on Saturday.

With West Ham United's first-team taking a short break from competitive action, Alex Dyer will call upon the club's crop of second-year Academy professionals for Monday's Barclays Premier Reserve League South trip to Arsenal.

As a result, the Academy director will blood a host of under-16s on Saturday morning. Carr said the game would provide the youngsters with an opportunity to impress at a higher, more physical level of football.

"With no first-team fixture this weekend it decimates Alex's squad for Monday night's game at Arsenal so, basically, all the second-year boys will play for the reserves in what will be a very youthful side.

"That means that my side, for the first time this season, will play without any second-year scholars in the team. So it will be an opportunity for half-a-dozen young schoolboys to come in with two-or-three of them making their debuts. It will be an interesting weekend. Both teams will be severely tested and will take a great experience out of it. It's an opportunity for next season's new intake to see what under-18 football is all about.

"Physically it may be a bit hard but it will be great experience for them. At least we are at home so it will be in familiar surroundings and I'm looking forward to seeing the boys and seeing how well they perform."

Among those likely to be handed a start are striker Daniel Subuola, full-back Miles Smith and forward Jack Werndly, while George Moncur - son of former West Ham midfielder John - will be among the substitutes.

While he is fully-focused on West Ham's cause, Carr also took time out in midweek to cast an eye over the FA Youth Cup quarter-final between runaway league-leaders Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. Carr was impressed by what he saw as the Gunners - who beat the Hammers 1-0 a fortnight ago - ran out 3-1 winners in front of a crowd of nearly 20,000 at White Hart Lane.

"I spent Thursday evening at the TalkSport studio with [former West Ham captain] Alvin Martin and we were watching the game and having a chat and Arsenal looked like an awesome team. The boy Jay Emmanuel-Thomas up front had a superb game and we know him from our own experience as he scored the winning goal against us a couple of weeks ago.

"I think Arsenal will take some stopping this year. As far as I can see, only Manchester City are equipped to stop them of the teams left in the competition. I think Arsenal are just stronger all round and will take some stopping there.

"When you talk about youth football it is about the quality of the players rather than the success of the team. While it's nice to win the FA Youth Cup, Arsenal would not be very happy if none of the players progressed on to the first-team ranks. Looking at their team, though, they have one or two who will certainly make first-team level. Jack Wilshere has already played there, Emmanuel-Thomas has a great chance and there are a couple of others who have a great chance.

"They have some very good players in that squad and they are a benchmark in that they always have quality players and a quality team. In terms of what they achieve each year with players they are not a bad example to follow. They beat us 1-0 a couple of weeks ago but it was thoroughly deserved."

Many of those players who faced Arsenal at youth level on 21 February will be in action when the pair square-off at reserve team level at Barnet's Underhill stadium on Monday evening. Carr is expecting another stern test.

"It will be a tough game for us on Monday. Arsenal are obviously always strong and have lots of players so I think we'll get a real test and I hope we rise to the occasion. I will be there to support Alex and the boys and I hope we give a good account of ourselves."

Dyer will be without left-back Jordan Brown, who has a groin problem, while central defender Tony Brookes is sidelined with glandular fever. Full-back Filip Modelski is out with a long-term knee injury.