Alex Dyer is relishing seeing how his young reserve side handle a tricky test against Arsenal on Monday night.
The second string travel to Barnet's Underhill home to meet the Gunners with no players boasting first-team experience in their ranks, although 18-year-old goalkeeper Marek Stech and central defender Bondz 'Gala, 19, have both made Gianfranco Zola's substitute's bench this season. Forest Gate-born 'Gala will be captain.
Dyer said: "It is a young team tonight with no senior boys so it is a good opportunity for them. It will be a tough game but it is a chance for them to step up and show they can live at the level of reserve-team football. This will not be a youth-team game but a reserve match against very talented players.
"The players are there by merit and the younger ones should be looking to show they can handle it. They will all want to be regulars in the reserves next year. Bondz and Holmar [Orn Ejyolfsson] at the back have to lead the way for the young boys and it is good for them to show the way. We are all looking forward to it."
The Hammers were 1-0 winners against Arsenal in the reverse fixture back on 21 October. They will hope to end a run of successive defeats by London rivals after going down to Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur in the previous two outings.
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