Carr welcomes Potts return

Academy Director Tony Carr has spoken of his delight at welcoming West Ham United great Steve Potts on to the Academy coaching staff.

Potts has re-joined the Hammers on a part-time basis working with the club's Under-16 side, coaching the young players two days each week as part of their day-release programme and also working during evenings and weekends.

Carr said the former West Ham defender, who chalked up 505 appearances in claret and blue, would be a huge asset to the Academy.

"Steve will come in on the day-release days two weekdays every week and also work on evenings and weekends to assist with the development of the young players at that level," said the Academy Director.

"He's got all his coaching badges and he will be a welcome addition to the Academy. The Academy has changed since Steve's day in the fact that it now contains boys aged from eight up to 18 but, other than that, it is largely the same.

"Steve will train the players and will help with their development and improvement as we continue to try to produce first-team players for the club."

While Potts will concentrate on the Under-16 schoolboys, Carr continues to oversee the Academy as a whole, working closely alongside coach Nick Haycock with the club's full-time scholars.

Another person who has taken a great deal of interest in the scholars is manager Sam Allardyce, who has already held a number of discussions with Carr about the club's promising youngsters.

"Sam is interested in the youth team and what is going on underneath first-team level at the club," Carr confirmed.

"He wants to know everything about the ins and outs at every level of the football club. He has said that if a player is good enough then the opportunity will be there for him to train with the first team.

"The bottom line is not their age but if they are good enough.

"If they are not quite ready for the first team, then the development squad is there to act as a link between youth football and first-team football."

Between Carr's Under-18s and Allardyce's first team, the development squad acts as a link, giving young professionals and senior players returning from injury a platform to showcase their talents and fitness.

Coached by former Barnet manager Ian Hendon, Carr believes the development squad has an important part to play in the future of the football club.

The Academy Director has been impressed with the way Hendon has come into Chadwell Heath and imposed his own ideas in just a few short weeks.

"Ian Hendon has come in and taken on the role of development coach and he will look after those slightly older players who are still developing and improving.

"I will have a say in the system and will work very closely with Ian with regards to who needs games and who might need specialist work in certain areas.

"It is an exciting and rewarding role for Ian and he has settled in very well."