Cullen up for City challenge

Development Squad captain Josh Cullen has called on his side to turn performances into points when they face Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad on Friday night at the Boleyn Ground. 

In recent games against Manchester United and Norwich City, the young hammers have played well yet have little to show for their efforts, losing 3-2 and 2-1 respectively. 

Reflecting on the narrow defeat to the Canaries last Friday, which saw Jordan Brown score his third goal of the season, Cullen said: “We were unlucky to lose to Norwich on Friday night, we have to look to bounce back, we know they’re going to be tough but if we do the right things we can get a result. 

“Results wise it has been disappointing, if you look at Norwich last Friday and Manchester United the game before, we perhaps haven’t got the points we deserve. But we can’t keep thinking about that we need move on. We need to put that right and make sure we’re resilient as a team.”

Looking ahead to Friday’s game with Manchester City, Cullen is expecting a tough encounter against Patrick Viera’s side. 

The Citizens currently sit in fifth place in the Barclays U21 Premier League table, however they would top the table should they win their games in hand. 

“They’re going to be a strong side, I think their U18s played in the Youth Cup on Monday night so you can see they’ve got a strong youth set up. 

“I played against them earlier in the season, we were unlucky again not to win. We were 1-0 up right up until the last minute, but they scored a last minute equaliser. That was against probably their strongest side so we did well up there. That should give us good belief for the game on Friday night.”

The Dev Squad’s encounter with the Sky Blues sees the hosts return to action at the Boleyn Ground rather than their regular home at Rush Green. 

Speaking about playing at the iconic venue, Cullen continued: “It’s always nice playing at Upton Park. It’s obviously an experience that every player wants, it’s a special place with a special environment.”

With just three league games left of the season after the City game, Cullen reflected on a challenging season for both him and his team.  

“It’s been up and down for me. I thought I had a decent pre-season and I started the season well but then got injured, I was out for four months which was tough to deal with. 

“I’ve been back for a while, I feel like I’m performing well. I just want to keep on doing well and push myself further and try and get into the first team. 

“As for my Dev Squad Player of the Year? Probably Lewis Page, he’s been a mainstay at left-back for the majority of the season, he’s done well. If you look at it you couldn’t say any winger has got the better of him and he offers a lot going forward, I would say he has stood out for me.”       

The West ham United Development Squad play Manchester City's Elite Development Squad on Friday 24 April at the Boleyn Ground. Kick off is 7pm, admission is free for all Season Ticket olders and U16s, £3 for adults.

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