Nouble hopeful for reserves

West Ham United reserves play their first home game in more than two months on Tuesday when Stoke City visit Bishop's Stortford.

Alex Dyer's side have enjoyed an encouraging upturn in performances of late with creditable draws against vastly more experienced sides in the shape of Polish side Arka and Fulham, before going down to a single goal in a friendly with a strong Norwich City last week.

As has become custom in recent times, the Hammers are expected to name a youthful side for the Potters' visit. While Josh Payne may be back from his loan spell, the physical threat of Frank Nouble is expected to be added following his recovery from an ankle knock that sidelined him for a few days before he returned to England U19 duty last week.

"The football is coming along really well now," Nouble said. "What we're doing in training is starting to show in the matches. We've lost one or two senior players so the younger players are opening up a bit more. Hopefully we can carry that good play on for the reserves."

Nouble's fledging strike pairing with Terry Dixon showed plenty of early promise at Fulham before the injury laid him low. The 18-year-old will be hoping to bring the experience gained during his trip with the first team to Hull City at the weekend to the rest of the reserve squad.

"It was good to come away with the first team. I think we should have won but it was a good experience to watch.

"The reserves will be training a couple of days before the game. We'll have time to get our points across and then go into the game. Every game that comes along I am happy as I can play a game every two or three weeks so hopefully I can get some form for the reserves."

Nouble is familiar with Stoke City midfielder Nathaniel Wedderburn from his recent U19 trips, and is confident the Hammers are prepared for what their visitors will throw at them.

"I know one of the players from England. They will be physical like their first team so we know what to expect."

Reserve-team manager Dyer wants his players to make sure they continue to build on their recent encouraging performances. He said: "It would be great to carry this into that game. We might have a couple of first-team players with us, plus Frank Nouble and Fabio Daprela, who have been regulars for me this season.

"We've been putting in some good performances starting with the Poland trip, through the Fulham league game and up to Norwich. I want the games to keep coming for us and keep the boys ticking over and in that frame of mind."

As usual, will have live text updates from Bishop's Stortford, where kick-off is at 7pm.