Hendo hopes best is yet to come

Ian Hendon will not allow the Development Squad to take their foot off the gas despite having a five-point lead at the top of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.

Paul McCallum's 87th-minute header gave Hendon's side a massive three points against Arsenal at London Colney on Friday, but the manager insists not is no time to rest. Hendon now hopes his side can continue their fine form and not only qualify for the Barclays Under-21 Elite League but win the current league in the process.

"We have come this far and have a five-point lead at the top so we want to see it out and win it, it is no time to put our feet up, we want to win ever game," Hendon said. "The initial aim was to qualify and get into the top three, hopefully we have now done that but if not we will face West Brom next week and try to win that game."

Despite their spectacular form, Hendon still insists that level of performance will always take precedence over results at this level.

"It is always about the performances and development of the players, the fact we are winning games and the lads are working hard for each other is a bonus. You play against teams at this level and see they have one stand-out individual but I have got a group of players who work hard for each other every day of the week. It is a pleasure to coach them."

Hendon also pinpointed the togetherness within the club from top to bottom as a contributing factor to its current success at every level.

"I was not here before Sam Allardyce came in. I came in at the same time but from what I am told he has brought a new level on enthusiasm to every aspect of the club.

"Everyone is behind what we are trying to do, it is all about the first-team pushing to achieve the best they can but the Development Squad and the Academy are also going well. Everyone is pulling in the right direction."

The former Tottenham player continued by paying tribute to the work being done by Nick Haycock and Tony Carr in the Academy of Football.

"I had youth-team players in my side against Arsenal - Frazer Shaw stepped up again and it shows what a good job Nick and Tony are doing in the Academy.

"There are players trying to push through into the Development Squad all the time but my aim is to push my players into the first-team. A few have already made their debuts this season and hopefully a few more can by May."

"Rob Hall is just one who has been involved with the first-team and you saw why on Friday but I think it gives the rest of the lads something to aim for.

"It shows that the manager is always watching and willing to give you an opportunity so as I said I hope a few more can be involved in the future."

Next up for Hendon's side is a home tie against West Bromwich Albion, who held the Development Squad to a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns.

"We face West Brom at Rush Green next Friday and if it is anything like the reverse fixture it will be a very tough game. They had an experienced side out with a few first-team players but our young side coped well and got a deserved point out of the game.

"It does not matter what side they bring, if it is an experienced one we will deal with it, if it is a young side we will deal with it, so we will take it as it comes have a good weeks training and look forward to Friday night."

*Tickets for Friday night's game cost just £3 for adults, £1 for kids and are free to Season Ticket holders and Academy Members on proof of purchase. The stadium is located on Rush Green Road, Romford, RM7 0LU.