Potts eyes return to form

Academy boss Steve Potts is looking for a return to winning ways when his side takes on Stoke City at Little Heath on Saturday.

The young Hammers have suffered a blip in recent weeks, losing tight games to Tottenham Hotspur and Everton to dent their charge to the end of season Play-Offs.

They remain second in the Premier Academy League South table though and are well placed to secure their position in the final tournament, so Potts is targeting three points against the Potters.

He explained: "We want to get back to winning ways. I think we've performed pretty well in the last two games, but we haven't got the results to go with the performances. That's been unfortunate but hopefully we can turn that around on Saturday.

"It's been a case of small margins against both Tottenham and Everton, being a bit more ruthless at the top end and restricting the chances at the other. I thought at Tottenham we did that fairly well, but at Everton we gave two sloppy goals away.

"We've been pretty good this year at keeping it tight at the back and that's given us a good platform over the season, so hopefully we'll get back to being like that."

Potts has promoted players from the schoolboy ranks in recent weeks, due in part to a number of his regulars stepping up to be involved with Nick Haycock's Development Squad.

He is delighted to see his young charges make progress and says giving experience to the next batch of youth teamers can only be beneficial at this stage.

He added: "The progress of the players up to the Under-21s has been really pleasing and a positive for the Club. Seven of the youth team boys went up to the Under-21s last Friday and it was good for them to get a good result as well - it proves that they're going in the right direction.

"Likewise, I've had younger players coming into the side. 16 year olds, and even a couple of 15 year olds came on last week. It's all good experience for them for next year.

"It would be nice for the boys to reach the Play-Offs because I think they've done well over the season. I can't fault the effort they've put in and obviously they've progressed as footballers. What would be nice if they got to the Play-Offs, they would be playing at a stadium, in front of a crowd, because they missed out on that in the FA Youth Cup."

Kick-off at Little Heath on Saturday is at 12 noon, with both admission and parking free of charge