'You only get out what you put in'
The old saying has certainly rung true for West Ham United's reserve team, who have won four and drawn one of their previous five matches as they prepare to travel to Blackburn Rovers for their latest challenge on Monday afternoon - live text coverage of which will be exclusively on whufc.com.
The most recent success was an outstanding 4-2 Barclays Premier Reserve League victory at Blackpool last Wednesday. The fine run, which has coincided with the appointment of new manager Steve Lomas, has seen the Hammers mount a serious challenge for the Southern Group title. With five matches remaining, West Ham are within four points of leaders Arsenal, with two games in-hand on the Gunners.
One player who has shone for the second-string is first-year scholar George Moncur, who capped an energetic all-round display with a fine goal at Bloomfield Road last week. The 17-year-old's strike was an important one, levelling the score-line at 2-2 in added time at the end of a breathless first half.
"It was a great result. We played well, we worked hard for 90 minutes and we got our reward by scoring four goals.
"We started pressing more after they scored their second goal and when we won the ball back I got forward and it fell to me, I hit my shot and luckily it went in."
Blackpool fielded a host of first-team squad members and played in a typically offensive style, but the young Hammers held firm on a warm and sunny afternoon on the Lancashire coast.
"Every time they got the ball, they had options everywhere. But then, if we got the ball, we had options too because we could break on them, so that was good.
"We're getting to know each other as players and off the pitch and know each other's games and how we play all the time, so that really helps."
Academy product Moncur was handed his reserve-team debut under Alex Dyer and has continued his development under the guidance under former Hammer Lomas, who took charge a month ago.
The midfielder also hailed the professional approach taken to reserve-team matches that has helped him and his fellow youngsters keep their focus on long away trips to Everton, Liverpool, Sunderland and Blackpool this season.
In eight away matches this term, West Ham have won five times and lost just twice.
"It was great under Alex and Steve has been good as well. He helps us on and off the field and really encourages us to play.
"My Dad knows Steve really well, having played with him, and he tells me that he wants everyone to play with enthusiasm and the right attitude. If we don't do that, he will give us a hard time, so we have to put in 100 per cent for the whole game.
"It is very professional. When you come on the away trips, you have to be professional because they are long journeys and you have to prepare properly. I'm really enjoying it."
After Lomas and his players hit the road again on Monday to Blackburn Rovers, they welcome the might of Manchester United to Bishop's Stortford on Friday 1 April.
Moncur is naturally eager to be involved in both fixtures.
"We're obviously on a good roll at the moment and our performances have been consistent.
"It should be good to play twice in a week and hopefully I'll get the chance to play again and I'll just keep doing the same thing.
"Manchester United will put a strong team out but we've just got to continue doing what we've been doing and we can beat them."