Carr eyes Spurs double

While West Ham United's Barclays Premier League trip to Tottenham Hotspur will be on every supporter's mind this coming Saturday, the two clubs will also meet in the FA Premier Academy League.

Academy Director Tony Carr and his players will make the short trip to Spurs Lodge on Saturday morning hoping to get one over on their local rivals ahead of the lunchtime kick-off at White Hart Lane.

One player the first team will have to keep a close eye on is Academy product Jermain Defoe - just one of a number of former West Ham youngsters to go on and represent Tottenham.


"Obviously the first-team game is massive with the points at stake for both us and Tottenham, but at youth level there is a friendly rivalry," Carr told West Ham TV. "I know all the Spurs people quite well, but we'll be doing all we can on the day to try and get a positive result.

"We have brought through a few players who have gone on to play for Tottenham. Jermain is a top goalscorer and we know all about him and obviously Paul Allen had a great career at Tottenham and also did well for us."

Back at youth-team level, Carr will be hoping his side can return to winning ways on the road after recent defeats at Crystal Palace and Ipswich Town - although there was a 1-0 home win against Cardiff City last Saturday to celebrate.

With a number of schoolboys and first-year scholars being handed their chance to impress, the Academy Director is more interested in performance levels than results.

"We're starting to blood a few young players into the youth team so, consequently, we're pushing some young players into the reserve team. Results can be a little inconsistent - we lost at Ipswich and Palace but had some very good results prior to that, beating Norwich who were top of the league at the time and won 3-0 at Arsenal.

"Results have been indifferent, but I'm certainly pleased with the performances and progression of the young players in the system."

As the season approaches its conclusion, Carr and his staff have to finalise their decisions over which young players will be offered scholarships and professional contracts.

For those who are to be released in the summer, the Academy will work hard to try and find new clubs at which they can continue their careers.

"We're finalising the scholars intake for next year and the scholars and young professionals are waiting to see what the outcome might be for their futures.

"It's a difficult time and a tough time but it has to be done every year and I won't shirk that responsibility.

"For the boys who don't get new contracts, we do all we can to try and fix them up with clubs and get them a contract elsewhere. Nick Haycock, our education and welfare guy, makes a lot of the phone calls and introductions for us and all of the young lads have representatives or agents working to open doors for them and we help where we can."