Dev Squad ready for Bilbao bout

West Ham United Development coach manager Nick Haycock is looking forward to hosting Athletic Bilbao this Wednesday in the newly created Barclays Premier League International Cup.

This is the first year of the tournament after the restructuring of the Barclays U21 Premier League format last season.

Aside from facing the Basque giants, the Dev Squad will also play PSV Eindhoven and Fulham in the group stage.

Nick Haycock is excited about Wednesday's fixture, as it provides a new challenge and a different type of opposition: "Bilbao are a technical team. I've been out to Bilbao on a study visit so I know a little bit about them.

"They're a fantastic football team, they've got a good reputation in Spain, a great history and a tradition of producing Basque players. They only sign Basque players which is a brave philosophy but it works. They work hard for the shirt, so it'll be a tough test but one we are looking for."

Speaking about the unique opportunities this tournament provides, Haycock hopes the tournament will be a success.

"It's a good idea from the Premier League. They've worked hard to deliver the tournament. There was a slight disappointment when it looked like it was off but they've changed it so all the games will be played in England.

"If you look at the Premier League now I think it's about 60% foreign players now so to play more foreign sides on a more regular basis is an excellent idea and something we are looking forward too.

"More important to me is the fact that we qualified for it, we deserve to be in it. It's a nice thing for the players to be involved in. It's also good for the fans and something slightly different to watch."

The Development Squad face Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday 15 October at the Boleyn Ground, with kick-off at 7pm. Tickets are available on the door, priced at £3 for adults and £1 for U16s. Admission is FREE for Season Ticket Holders.