'Gala keen on captaincy

Bondz 'Gala will be hoping to play another key role when West Ham United reserves take on Birmingham City on Tuesday night.

The centre-back, who turns 20 next month, was delighted to pull on the armband in last week's season opener against Aston Villa and he predicts a similarly tough encounter against their Midlands rivals. He said: "There were a few tackles flying in, it was a good game to be involved. I am always proud to wear the armband. It is nice to be selected and to lead the side out.

"I am looking to make a breakthrough into the first team and being reserve-team captain can only help me. We worked hard last week but Alex Dyer thought we could have passed it better and nicked a point. It was a tough way to start but I did think we deserved at least a draw."

Hailing from Forest Gate, 'Gala is understandably upbeat about the prospect of a run-out at the Boleyn Ground with the Birmingham fixture moved from the usual Bishop's Stortford base. There could also be some first-teamers on view including Valon Behrami. "We are all looking forward to the chance to play at Upton Park in front of our fans," 'Gala added.

Having played at right-back last week, 'Gala could revert to his usual centre-back berth alongside Matthew Fry on Tuesday as Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson is away on Under-21 duty with Iceland. Dyer might have turned to Danny Gabbidon or James Tomkins as they chase fitness but they are also away while Jordan Spence's loan at Scunthorpe United has been extended to mid-January. Dyer also may call upon new recruit Manuel Da Costa. Calum Davenport remains in hospital after being seriously injured in an incident last month but is making good progress.