Dev Squad ready for Derby duel

The Dev Squad face table topping Derby County at Rush Green on Monday
West Ham United’s Development Squad will be looking to build on their 2-1 win away at Brighton & Hove Albion last time out when they host Derby County U21 on Monday 23 November at Rush Green.

The Hammers put in a terrific display at the Amex and were rewarded for the endeavours through goals from captain Josh Cullen and Martin Samuelsen’s fourth strike of the campaign.

Terry Westley’s side will need to recreate the same level of performance against the Rams if they are to get anything from the game as Monday’s opponents sit top of the Barclays U21 Premier League division two table with 19 points from nine games.

Looking ahead to Monday’s encounter, Westley, who spent six months as Derby’s caretaker manager in spring 2006 and guided the Rams to Championship safety, said: “Derby are a big club trying desperately to get back to the Premier League and they have a great reputation, like we do, of producing outstanding young players,” said Westley, who oversaw the development of young stars such as Tom Huddlestone, Lee Holmes and Giles Barnes during his time with the East Midlands club.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my own time there, working with some outstanding youngsters like Giles, Tom and the goalkeepers Lee Camp and Lee Grant, who all went on to become very good senior players.

“We also got to safety in the Championship when I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to manage the team, so I’m looking forward to seeing how one of my old clubs is getting on these days.”

One player likely to feature is young midfielder Marcus Browne who recently put pen to paper on a professional contract.

The 17-year-old has been in outstanding form since making the step up from the U18s to the Dev Squad: “Training with the U21s is different to training with the U18s, the standard is better and the expectations go up.

“It’s been fun and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I feel like I’m improving everyday in training and learning new things all the time thanks to Terry (Westley) and Liam (Manning).

“The win over Brighton was a massive confidence boost to the team. Everyone enjoys winning it’s a good feeling. The win against Brighton felt really good. The boys played really well and everyone worked hard and helped each other to earn a well-deserved victory.

“Hopefully we’ve found our form and we can start turning good, strong performances into a string of wins.”

The Development Squad host Derby County U21 at Rush Green Stadium on Monday 23 November, admission is FREE for all fans.