Dev Squad aiming to upset Blues

The Development Squad play Chelsea U21s at Stamford Bridge on Friday evening
The West Ham United Development Squad are hoping to cause an upset when they travel across London to play title challengers Chelsea. 

Just like their imperious first team, the Blues have been by far one of the best teams this season. Currently, fourth with two games in hand, the west Londoners know they need a win on Friday night to keep their title challenge alive. 

As for the Hammers, the narrow 2-1 defeat to Everton last Friday confirmed their relegation to Division Two. 

Despite a season of disappointing results, there have been a number of positives, in particular the progression of Djair Parfitt-Williams who has taken the step from the U18s to the U21s like a duck to water. 

Speaking ahead of the difficult trip to Stamford Bridge, the talented 18-year-old said: “Chelsea will be a tough game, they’re a very good side. We just have to try our best and see what happens.”

Having scored nine goals for the U18s, predominantly at the start of the season, it proved enough to become top goal scorer. 

Toward the second half of the campaign, the youngster made the step up to the Dev Squad where his goal scoring form has continued, including netting to the winner against Leicester City and a superb individual effort against Everton. 

“It’s great to be top goalscorer. I’ve worked hard on my finishing which has paid off in my games. 

“My best goal this season probably has to be the one I just scored against Everton a few days ago. I scored a good goal against Brighton earlier in the season for the U21s, they’re my two best ones.”

Speaking after the defeat against the Toffees, U21s coach Steve Potts warned of the challenge that lay ahead for his side. 

Potts, who played at Stamford Bridge a number of times during an illustrious career, said: “Chelsea away is probably the toughest game of the year. It’s over at Stamford Bridge which should be a good experience for the boys. We have to be resolute over there. 

“Hopefully playing in an actual stadium will give everyone a lift and the lads will rise to it.” 

Parfitt-Williams, who joined the club as an U15 has thrived since he joined the Hammers. Reflecting on the his time in east London, he thanked Potts and Academy manager Terry Westley for their impact on his fledgling career. 

“Steve has been my coach ever since I’ve been here. We’ve moved up the age groups together, U18s and then U21s.

“Terry has always been genuine with me. He’s always there to give advice and he’s sort of taken me under my wing. I’m very grateful for them and everyone at the Academy.”

The Development Squad play Chelsea U21s at Stamford Bridge on Friday 15 May, kick off at 7.05pm. We’ll have team news, updates and reaction on and @whufc_official throughout the proceedings.