Sadlier keen to end on a high

Sunderland is the last stop on the Development Squad's travels, as the curtain comes down on their Barclays Under-21 Premier League season at the Academy of Light on Thursday afternoon.

Nick Haycock's team head to Wearside occupying ninth position in the table going into their season finale, but they still have plenty to play for against the Mackems.

The young Hammers know that a point against the Black Cats will be enough to secure the top eleven finish that would place them in the top tier of U21 football next season, but midfielder Kieran Sadlier is adamant that his side will be chasing all three.

He told West Ham TV: "We know that we want to be in top league next year and we know that we have to win to give ourselves the best chance of doing that.

"Maybe a few results might go our way beforehand, but we're going up there to win and I think we've got a very good chance of doing that."

Sunderland have plenty to play for themselves on Wednesday afternoon, as Kevin Ball's side still harbour hopes of qualifying for the end of season Play-Offs via a top-four finish.

The Black Cats are in seventh place and require nothing less than three points against the Hammers, and Sadlier is looking forward to a competitive game between the sides.

"They're going to be very strong. I remember playing against Sunderland a few times and they've always got a good team.

"They've got quite an experienced squad as well, I'm not sure if they've got players on loan or not, but they're going to be going all out for the win because they want to get into the Play-Offs.

"We'll be the same, we'll try and match them and we don't go there as underdogs. We're going there to win."

The Hammers will be trying to avoid a third consecutive defeat when they take to the pitch at the Academy of Light having lost to Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers in their last two outings.

Defeat against Blackburn last time out was a narrow one, with the winning goal coming from a free-kick which Sadlier maintains should not have been given.

"Looking back at it, we just watched the video and I think in the first half we played it around and did ok, but I think we all know that we didn't perform to our best.

"We could have done a lot of things better. They wanted it a bit more than us, but I think we still could have got a result. We had a few chances and their goal came from a free-kick which wasn't a free-kick, but we have to live with that now."

The winger will be hoping to add to his tally of three league goals for the season when the Hammers play out their final game of the campaign, and Sadlier is confident that both he and his teammates are ready for the task ahead.

"We have to get on the ball, play our stuff and do what we do normally. We have to play it around and be effective in good areas.

"I look forward to every game. We're going to go up there confident and believing in our own abilities. I remember going up there last time, it's a big pitch which you can play it around on. It will be good, I'm looking forward to it."