Dev Squad set for Stoke opener

  • The Hammers’ U23s take on Stoke City away from home in their first Premier League 2 clash of the campaign
  • Manager Terry Westley wants the side to hit the ground running
  • Loan deals for many young Hammers can inspire the rest of their teammates, according to the boss

Terry Westley says members of his Development Squad who have secured loan moves this week can act as role models for rest of the squad ahead of their first league fixture of the season this weekend.
The U23s take on Stoke City away from home on Saturday in their Premier League 2 opener to end what has been a busy week for the Academy side.
It began with Josh Cullen – who started and impressed against Juventus at the new Stadium opening – joining Bradford City on loan after a spell there last season.
Defenders Josh Pask and Lewis Page then followed Cullen to Football League clubs by making temporary switches to Gillingham and Coventry City respectively.
After the deals were completed, Westley said: “The three went on loan this week and of course George Dobson and Kyle Knoyle did so earlier in the summer. They’re all excellent loans for the boys.
“It shows how far we’ve come. We weren’t sending people to first division clubs when I arrived. They are going out getting great experience in league football.
“One of the big questions I put to the players all the time is how can you get yourself a Championship loan or get yourself in the manager’s plans?
“That’s by individually shining and showing what you can do, so when 5pm comes and I speak to Niko [Jurcevic], Edin [Terzic] and the manager, they get positive feedback and collectively as a team we do well and people talk about you.”

We weren’t sending people to first division clubs when I arrived. It shows how far we've come
Terry Westley


The U23s will be without injured squad members Vashon Neufville, Sam Westley and Djair Parfitt-Williams this weekend but new signings Toni Martinez and Domingos Quina are set to feature.
The Hammers began last season’s Dev Squad season with five defeats from six, but Westley is keen to use that experience to hit the ground running this time around.
He continued: “We’re looking forward to the game. We didn’t get off to a great start last year so we want to try and address that and put it right this time round. We had a terrific end of the season so we want to carry that through to start this one.
“Having been here another full season, we’d like to think the philosophy of what we are trying to do will really come across this season.
“We’re excited to see one or two new additions; Martinez and Quina looks like they will both make their debuts on Saturday.
“And there have been great pre-seasons for Declan Rice, Marcus Browne, Grady Diangana and Alex Pike, so we’re raring to go.”