Hall coming of age

Rob Hall is coming of age - both as a footballer and as a man.

The West Ham United forward, who celebrates his 18th birthday on Thursday, is enjoying a hugely-productive loan spell at League Two club Oxford United.

The England Under-18 forward has netted four goals in just seven appearances for the U's, helping Chris Wilder's side climb to third in the table.

So far, all of Hall's goals have come away from home - including a last-gasp equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Macclesfield Town last weekend - and the youngster is planning to celebrate his birthday by hitting the target when Frank Nouble's Gillingham visit the Kassam Stadium this Saturday.

"It's great to score and there is always a lot of our supporters at the away games," he told the Oxford Mail. "However, I am desperate to score at home as well.

"The atmosphere at home games is just so good with all the fans that are there and I want to get a goal there.

"I don't know what I would do if I scored at home - the emotion of scoring just takes over, so I won't plan a certain celebration because I will probably just end up running around!"

A goal against the Gills would also help to placate Hall's father Dennis, who has set his son the target of scoring in every single game he plays for Oxford.

A former semi-professional footballer with Thame United and Aylesbury himself, Dennis has been a constant support since Rob joined West Ham at the age of eight, driving him endless miles around the M25 for training sessions and matches at Little Heath.

That commitment was rewarded when Rob signed his first professional contract with the Hammers in October 2010.

"I didn't personally [set myself a goals target], but my Dad told me he wanted me to get a goal a game. So although it's going well here at the moment, it needs to be even better for him!

"My Dad has always really helped me and has been a big influence. He is always pushing me to be even better and that's a good thing. I agree with him as well because if I play a game and have not scored a goal then it doesn't feel that I have done my job.

"So that's my target - to score in every game I play."