Potts ready for cup bow

Steve Potts believes his West Ham United U18s are 'raring to go' ahead of their FA Youth Cup tie at Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.

The Hammers enter the competition at the third-round stage, making the long trip to the Store First Stadium to face a Stanley side which has beaten Carlisle United and Ilkeston to get this far.

In the Barclays U18 Premier League, Potts' side have put together a nine-match unbeaten run and he believes his players are ready for their Youth Cup bow.

He told West Ham TV: "They've been good most of the year and I keep saying it. Even at the start of the year they performed fairly well.

"We haven't played for a few weeks now which was a shame really because we were in good form.

"We've tried to tick over as best we can. We gave everyone half a game last week in a friendly against MK Dons to try and keep everyone ticking over from a match point of view and I think the boys are raring to go."

Stanley themselves are on a seven-game unbeaten run and come into the clash having thrashed Preston North End 5-1 in a North West Football League Youth Alliance match on Saturday.

Potts knows his side will face a tough challenge from their lower-league opposition, but believes, if his team play to their best, then they will come out on top.

"It'll be a good experience for the boys going to an away game like this one. We've heard one or two reports about the ground and the changing rooms and everything so I think the boys just need to get focussed on the game and hopefully they'll perform like they have been doing.

"You always go and watch the opposition to try and see how they set-up and everything. We've been working on a few things but I think it boils down to more what we can do rather than the opposition.

"It's a case of trying to handle each game, each situation. The key to it is not treating the game any different to any other game. In football if you take any game lightly then you'll come unstuck so that's what we've got to a bit careful of."

At this stage of last year's FA Youth Cup the Hammers were handed a similar tie when they came up against Aldershot Town and triumphed after two goals from Elliot Lee.

The striker has now progressed into the Development Squad and this year's competition represents the last chance for some of Potts' current squad to make their own mark on the tournament.

"I just want the boys to do well. We've got a bit of a mixture this year with half the starting line-up I've picked will be half first years and half second years and a school boy in goal. With the second years it's their last chance at the youth cup so it's quite a big thing for them.

"I just hope that the boys go and perform against whichever opposition is thrown at us. It's certainly a hard cup to win because some of the teams I've seen this year have been very good so whoever wins it will be a decent team."

Tickets are priced at £5 Adults, £3 Concessions and £1 for U12s who are accompanied by an Adult.

*The Official Website and Twitter feed @whufc_official will have live text coverage from Accrington on Monday evening from 6pm, with kick-off at 7pm.