Haycock expects Dev Squad to improve

After a disappointing 4-0 home defeat by Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground, Development Squad manager Nick Haycock is expecting his team to bounce back against Fulham on Friday evening.

The Dev Squad have had a tough start to their league campaign as they continue to search for their first win after four games. Having drawn 1-1 away to Manchester City, they then succumbed to a 4-0 defeat by an impressive Liverpool side.

Despite the heavy scoreline, the Hammers had several good chances to score, however a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing prevented them from finding the net.

Summarising his thoughts on the Liverpool match, Haycock said: "We've had time to digest the Liverpool game. We can't keep saying it could have been this, it could have been that. The most important thing is that we've conceded four, and scored none. We can't keep saying we're doing alright in the middle of the park, ultimately it's what happens in and around both boxes that count.

"I've watched the video of the game twice. Liverpool had much more fluency in the middle and particularly in the front three, they deserved to win."

Looking ahead to the Dev Squad's trip to Fulham on Friday, Haycock said: "Fulham have got plenty of good players. They've had a few young players in the first team this season.

"They'll put a strong side out as they've invested quite heavily in their academy over the last four or five years. Huw Jennings and Kit Symons have done a great job there. I have a huge respect for Kit as a coach. I've had some real competitive, tight games between them. I'm expecting no different on Friday.

"We know we have to be up for the physical and tactical challenge that they'll throw at us. It'll be tough but the boys are in a good frame of mind, we've been working hard. You can see there is a real appetite to learn."

Despite the slow start to the season, Haycock is confident in his team's abilities: "There is a big desire to win football matches here. I went to Sam Allardyce last year when we were top of the table and said we need to get some of these boys out on loan to get more first team experience. We decided to use young players last year, and we're in a similar position now."

"The season has just started and we've used lots of young players particularly at centre-half. You can see a little bit of inexperience but the learning curve they're on is immeasurable."

Haycock is expecting a much better display against Fulham to the one last Friday: "I expect a good attitude and to stick to what we've been working on. We don't change it because of one game, there's a philosophy of play that we're sticking too.

"There may well be personnel changes, some of the younger players might get a go. We'll work on that and hopefully it will come together on Friday."