Haycock proud of table-toppers

Nick Haycock was a proud man after watching the Development Squad climb to the top of the table with a 2-0 victory over Norwich City at Rush Green.

Goals from Pelly Ruddock and Kieran Sadlier did the damage as the young Hammers reached the summit of the Barclays U21 Premier League.

The win was the side's fifth from their opening seven matches and left the coach justifiably pleased.

He told West Ham TV: "I thought the boys were very good. [Assistant manager] Neil McDonald came down afterwards absolutely beaming and said what a good performance it was, which is always nice to hear that you're doing the job that's expected of you as a coach and also as a team.

"The team have responded to the information they get given on a daily basis and I said after the last game (a 1-0 win at Stoke City) that we had to avoid complacency by working hard and we did that.

"I'm not going to make any criticisms and they can go home and be proud of the performance they put in for the football club."

Elliot Lee could have given the home side the lead as early as the seventh minute were it not for an excellent save from Norwich goalkeeper Remi Matthews.

The Hammers did not have to wait too long for the opener, however, as centre-back Ruddock steamed forward from defence, taking the ball to the byline and crossing before seeing Matthews let the ball slip under him and into the net.

The second goal after 60 minutes also owed a bit to the Norwich goalkeeper, who could not handle Sadlier's cross and watched the ball bounce over the line.

Haycock is hopeful that the team's good performance will have done enough to persuade some of the on-looking Football League club scouts to take some of his players on loan.

He said: "It was interesting to see about 40 scouts here and hopefully now we'll get one or two calls about some players. Even though they'll now be saying 'We can try and go on and win the league', it's not the priority.

"The priority is winning football matches and getting them noticed by Football League clubs and seeing what comes from it.

"If they stay here hopefully they'll have shown Macca and [first-team coach] Ian Hendon that they could feature for the first team, perhaps in the Capital One Cup against Burnley."

While Haycock is clearly keen to have his players getting valuable experience in the Football League, he is delighted with the start they have made to their league campaign.

Just one defeat, a narrow loss to Spurs, have meant the Hammers are fighting for one of the top four positions which would qualify the team for the season ending Play-Offs. For now, Haycock is happy the team has met the targets set for them.

"I'm delighted but still disappointed that we're sat on 16 points and not 19 with the goals we conceded against Tottenham and Manchester City.

"We set targets over five games and we're well on the way to hitting our second target and it's up to other teams to go and win games and go back above us now.

"We've got a couple of [friendly] games that we're trying to pencil in before our next league game against Wolves to give everyone some games and keep the squad fit and healthy and continue the upward curve that we're on."

The Development Squad will return to Barclays U21 Premier League action against Wolverhampton Wanderers at AFC Telford United on Monday 21 October at 7pm.