Loan star Lee

It is not just at West Ham United that players, coaching staff and supporters are battling relegation.

Just five miles down the road, on-loan Hammers youngster Olly Lee is doing everything he can to save Dagenham & Redbridge from dropping out of League One.

The 19-year-old has swapped the relative-serenity of the Barclays Premier Reserve League for the cut-and-thrust of life at Victoria Road.

The central midfielder has immersed himself fully at the club, making his full league debut in a 2-1 defeat at Exeter City on Saturday before starting again in Tuesday's 2-0 home defeat by promotion-chasing Peterborough United.

"Obviously we were very disappointed with the result, but I was delighted to make my league debut [at Exeter]. I think I've played fairly well in both of my appearances so far so, on a personal level I've been very happy.

"I've played in a three-man midfield with Peter Gain and Abu Ogogo and both of them are good players and comfortable on the ball. It's been good.

"Playing in front of decent-sized crowds full of fans willing their team on and desperate for the three points makes such a big difference as a player. Against Exeter, there were more than 4,500 supporters there so that was great for my debut. We went in front but then we had ten bad minutes at the end and lost 2-1.

"It was my first game and it took me a while to work out how to help the team to close a game out. We made a couple of mistakes and weren't able to do that, so I'll take the experience and try to make sure the same thing doesn't happen next time we are in that situation.

"On Tuesday night against Peterborough, we had another bad ten minutes, but this time it was at the start of the game. We went 2-0 down but after that Peterborough didn't have a shot all game. If you start that badly, you will always be up against it.

"Peterborough have got some decent players - I was up against the former West Ham player Grant McCann - but we dominated the game for 80 minutes. It was just a shame we couldn't get one goal back because that could have really changed the course of the game.

"We're in the relegation zone now, but we play at home to Notts County, who are one place above us, on Saturday. If we can win that and our other home games then I think we'll be OK. There's definitely enough quality here to stay up."

With home matches against bottom side Plymouth Argyle and mid-table Carlisle United to come, as well as a trip to struggling Tranmere Rovers, Lee is confident that John Still's squad has what it takes to survive the drop.

Should he do so, the loan star will be filled with both personal and collective pride.

"I am desperate to keep Dagenham & Redbridge up, to be honest. I have really enjoyed being part of everything at the club. The lads have been great and it's a great experience for me to be fighting to save a club from relegation at this stage of my career.

"If I could help to keep the club in League One and get eight to ten games under my belt during my time here, then that would really help me to push on for next season."