Phillips ready for Brighton game

West Ham United U18s assistant manager Mark Phillips is hoping his side can continue their good start to the season against Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Hammers remain unbeaten after six league games after they beat Reading 4-0 at Little Heath last weekend through goals from Josh Pask, Grady Diangana, Jordan Brown and substitute Oscar Borg.

Having won three and drawn three so far, Phillips is hoping to make it lucky seven unbeaten on the south coast.

He said: "I honestly think we've played better and not won some of our games this year. On Saturday at Reading we scored goals at the right time.

"Once we were three goals up we really controlled the game. Up until then we defended well but we still could have used the ball better."

A further positive was the U18s securing their first clean sheet of the season in Berkshire.

"The back five, including the goalkeeper, deserved a clean sheet, because hey defended very well," Phillips continued. "Reading put us under a lot of aerial bombardment and they threw a lot at us. But the handled it all very well."

Striker Jordan Brown has been in terrific goal-scoring form as he netted his fifth in six games and Phillips is delighted with the progress the young forward is making.

"If I'm honest, the way the season has gone and the way he is playing, I expect him to score every game. That's a big call but he always seems to find a way to score.

"He takes his chances very well. This time last year he was snatching at chances, trying to hit the leather off the ball, but he's matured and he passes it into the corner now. He works hard to find the space and create opportunities."

Little is known about Saturday's opponents. However they have made a good adjustment to life in the Barclays U18 Premier League South Group, as they are level on points with the Hammers on 12 points each.

"They're new into Category One football so we'll have to wait and see what they're like," Phillips conceded.

"As for us, the team are a hard-working unit. That's the first thing we expect from them. We've been working this week in training on starting games stronger, as we haven't started too well in games so far.

"We've had to play catch up a few times. At Southampton we had to come from 2-0 down to beat them 3-2. Obviously that shows great character but it's making our job harder than it needs to be."

West Ham United U18s taken on Brighton & Hove Albion at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre on Saturday 4 October, with kick-off at 11am.

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