Alex Dyer is expecting another difficult contest when his reserves take on Barclays Premier Reserve League South leaders Aston Villa at Bishop's Stortford this evening.
The second string Hammers achieved a tremendous 1-0 win at Arsenal last week despite a youthful selection that had no first-team players on view. The same is likely this evening although Dyer should be able to call upon the likes of goalkeeper Peter Kurucz and defenders Bondz 'Gala and Holmar Eyjolfsson to help stop a Villa attack that has fired the Midlands club eight points clear of third-placed West Ham. 'Gala is expected to captain the side as he did against the Gunners, while Kurucz could make his first competitive appearance at reserve-team level since signing from Ujpest in the absence of Marek Stech, who has joined Wycombe Wanderers on loan until the end of the season.
Zavon Hines could make his first start for the club since signing a new contract earlier this month and the 20-year-old striker is hopeful of catching Gianfranco Zola's eye for the senior side before the end of the campaign. Hines has been hampered by a knee injury of late but could partner Balint Bajner, who is fresh from scoring twice for the Under-18s in a 4-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The two teams played out a 0-0 draw earlier this season and Dyer is hoping the Arsenal and Palace successes have had a galvanising effect on his youngsters. "The lads have done well in the last week," he said. "Tonight will be a different prospect though. Villa are a strong side and work hard from start to finish. We have got some players in there like Bondz and Zavon that are getting close to the first team and they will help some of the younger ones along."
Admission to tonight's contest at Woodside Park is free to season ticket holders, £5 for adults and £2 for concessions. Kick-off is at 7pm.