Hendon urges Whyteleafe support

Development squad coach Ian Hendon has urged fans to leave the comfort of their living rooms to cheer on the Hammers' young stars on Tuesday.

Hendon will take his team to Ryman League Division One South side Whyteleafe for a special friendly match organised through Joint Chairman David Gold's role as Patron at the Surrey club. Tickets are just £8 for adults and £5 for concessions.

While England's friendly with Sweden may tempt many football fans to spend the evening on the sofa in front of the television, Hendon has called for supporters to come out and support both West Ham and Whyteleafe.

"The Joint Chairman is a Patron at Whyteleafe and we were originally going to play this game in the pre-season, but it wasn't played so we have re-arranged it for this week following discussions with their Chairman," Hendon confirmed.

"For Whyteleafe's benefit, lets hope the supporters turn out in their droves and they get a good attendance. I'm sure it will be a better game of football than any they can watch on the telly!"


Hendon's players have been used to taking on Football League opposition in recent weeks, so Tuesday's game against a team of part-timers will present an unfamiliar challenge.

The development squad coach will have a squad consisting mainly of young professionals at his disposal, but he is confident they will be able to handle whatever approach taken by the home side.

"It'll most definitely be a challenge because they are a men's team playing competitive football week-in, week-out. We've got  fairly young squad but these games are difficult so we'll be taking it seriously and looking forward to a good competitive game.

"To be honest, we won't know what sort of style Whyteleafe will play until we get there and the game starts. They could be giants and get the ball forward quickly that way, or they might get the ball down and play. We'll have to be prepared for both.

"One thing is for sure and that's that we know how we're going to play and whatever they put out against us and however they play, we won't change that."

The star name in Hendon's side is set to be Ivory Coast international Guy Demel, who could make his second appearance after two months out with a hamstring problem, while first-team goalkeeper Peter Kurucz may also be involved.

Alongside that experienced pair will be the likes of Olly Lee, Jordan Brown, Dominic Vose and Cristian Montano, who have all recently returned from loan spells in the npower Football League. Young professionals George Moncur, Brian Montenegro and Eoin Wearen and a number of promising Academy scholars will also be involved.

"Guy played for 45 minutes at Gillingham last week and we'll be looking to give him an hour on Tuesday. We'll play it by ear and as long as he is fine, we'll keep him out there for as long as possible.

"The same goes for Peter. We'll be looking to give him a good run now that he's come back to fitness. It'll be a good run out for those two, while it's also another opportunity for those lads who have come back from loan spells to press their claim to push themselves towards the first-team squad."

For directions to Whyteleafe FC, click here. There are two mainline stations within five-minute walking distance and plenty of parking in the area.