Proud Potts

Last Friday morning, Danny Potts woke up expecting to prepare for the following day's FA Premier Academy League fixture against Chelsea.

He had just jumped out of the shower when the phone rang and the 17-year-old defender was told his plans had changed - depending on the fitness of Joey O'Brien, he could be travelling with the first-team squad for their npower Championship match at Hull City.

As it turned out, O'Brien's tight hamstring prevented him from taking part, giving Potts the opportunity to not just travel to Hull, but to sit on the bench as one of the substitutes.

"It was unbelievable," he told West Ham TV. "The only thing in my mind was playing for the youth team against Chelsea. Then, on Friday morning, I got a call to tell me to bring my passport and an overnight bag because I was travelling.

"I got to the training ground and I didn't quite know about Joey O'Brien's fitness and whether or not he was going to travel. Then I found out he wasn't travelling and I was going to be on the bench.

"It was the first time I have been in the first-team squad and I'm still at a very young age. It's my target to be in the first team so just to run out on to the pitch to warm-up was unreal.

"I've been on the bench and now I want to be playing. To be part of it was good but now I want to get on to the pitch, even if it's just for a matter of minutes. Hopefully if I keep doing what I'm doing, that will come."

For Potts, his involvement was made all the more special considering it is less than two years since he was given the all clear following a successful fight against leukaemia.

Having shown great courage and strength to overcome the blood cancer, the teenager is setting his sights on a pair of new targets - a professional contract and a first-team debut.

"Back then, football was the least of my worries. To think that not even two years on from my illness to be here is unbelievable. At that time, there was only one thing that was important and that was getting back to proper health."

"That pro contract is obviously my main aim and being at Hull has put me in good stead and I just want to push on, really. If it comes to it, I'll go out on loan, but I want to be playing for West Ham.

"If that means going out on loan to get experience, then fair enough, but my main target is to play for West Ham's first team."