Potts ready for Royals test

Steve Potts is aiming for a repeat performance from his West Ham United U18s when they entertain Reading in the Barclays U18 Premier League at Little Heath on Saturday.

Earlier in the season the young Hammers inflicted a 3-1 defeat on the Royals thanks to a hat-trick from winger Djair Parfitt-Williams.

Potts has marked that game down as one of his side's best performances of the season and is hoping they can repeat the trick this time around.

He told West Ham TV: "Looking back on the season, I would say that was one of our better performances, definitely footballing wise.

"We didn't really get the goals that we deserved that day. We won 3-1 in the end but it was 2-1 until late in the game and we didn't put the game to bed.

"Reading are always a good youth team so it won't be an easy game. I don't think there have been any easy games this season and we're expecting a hard game on Saturday as well."

The U18s will be looking to extend their excellent run of form which has seen them lose just once in 14 league games - a run which stretches back to 28 September 2013.

Potts' side have racked up three straight wins, the latest of which came last weekend in a 2-1 success against Aston Villa. However, Potts felt his side were fortunate to come away with all three points on a windy afternoon in the Midlands.

"I must be honest about it, I think Aston Villa were the better team on the day so I think we were fortunate. By the same token, that happens sometimes.

"We had to try and grind a result out. It wasn't pretty at times and I've seen us play a lot better football this year, but we got the result, so fair play to the boys for that."

After the game against the Villans, Academy Director Tony Carr MBE labelled the conditions as 'farcical', a sentiment which Potts agreed with.

"It was a very difficult game for them to play in because the conditions. I've not seen much worse to be honest. There was a really strong wind and it was hard to play how you wanted to play.

"You had to play the conditions as such. It was a difficult game but I thought they coped with it well."

Another feature of the match was the young nature of Potts' starting XI due in part to the Development Squad selecting U18 regulars Kyle Knoyle, Lewis Page, Kieran Bywater, Moses Makasi and Jamie Harney for their game against Manchester United on Monday night.

This meant that Potts called upon some of the Club's schoolboy section in the shape of Josh Pask, Joe Linley, Oscar Borg and Alex Pike, and he was happy with their contribution against Villa.

"Three of my back four and my goalkeeper are school boys so we were very young on Saturday. Nick Haycock had some youth-team players in the U21s on Monday night.

"It will happen. I don't think it'll happen all the time but when the chances arise then it's a knock-on effect. Some of the youth team players will go to the U21s and I'll bring the schoolboys in, which is good experience for them."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 11am. Admission and parking are free of charge.