U18s up for Chelsea test

Tony Carr says West Ham United's Under-18 squad are raring to go ahead of Wednesday's FA Youth Cup fifth-round tie at Chelsea, which will be screened live on West Ham TV.

The Hammers, who have already defeated the Blues on home turf this season by winning 3-2 at Chelsea's Cobham training ground on 7 January. won through to the last-16 courtesy of impressive victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighton and Hove Albion.

Speaking to West Ham TV - while the squad trained at Chadwell Heath on Monday - their first outdoor session in more than a week - the Academy Director said those results had given the youngsters great confidence ahead of Wednesday's trip to Staines Town FC.

"It's important to prepare for the game on grass. We have had to train after the first team, which is understandable, but we have undersoil heating at Chadwell Heath so myself and Nick Haycock have been able to do some team shape work.

"We're all looking forward to it. We have to say that Chelsea are the favourites with their team drawn from all over the world. We've beaten them this year in the league and lost narrowly 1-0 in the other game, so I think it'll be a tight game.

"I don't think there will be a lot in it. I think it will be on the night and hopefully we'll be the team that comes through."

Carr said his players had nothing to fear from facing the Blues, having already overcome Wolves at Molineux and comfortably beaten Brighton at the Boleyn Ground in previous rounds.

West Ham TV

"I think they are looking forward to it and so they should. It's just a shame that it's not at Stamford Bridge. So be it, it's at Staines Town and they tell me it is a very good pitch down there so we have no concerns about that. We'll be prepared and ready and it will be the team that plays the best on the night.

"We have come out of the Christmas break with a good win at Chelsea and followed that up with a win at home to Norwich. We lost to Crystal Palace, but it wasn't that they were much better than us on the day - we just didn't play very well and we got punished for that and they won the game and all credit to them.

"Certainly all the focus now is on the Chelsea game and although we go into it as slight underdogs we feel we can give Chelsea a real game."

It is also exciting times for West Ham's youngsters at international level. Leo Chambers captained England Under-17s to victory at the recent Algarve Tournament in Portugal, while Dan Potts has received his first call-up for England's Under-18s for next month's visit of Poland.

"Leo has just come back from a three-game Under-17 tournament where he was voted Player of the Tournament which is good for him and his progress.

"Matthias Fanimo and Blair Turgott are regular members of the Under-18s and Rob Hall the Under-19s and I understand Dan Potts has been called-up for the Under-18s. Hopefully he'll get a cap under his belt for England."