U18s ready to bounce back against Villa

The young Hammers host Aston Villa at Little Heath on Saturday afternoon

Having lost their opening game of 2016, a tough away game at title challengers Reading, the U18s are looking to bounce back when they host Aston Villa on Saturday 16 January at Little Heath.

Last time out, a young Claret and Blue side were ousted by an in-form Royals who secured a 3-0 win to strengthen their title push.

Reflecting on the defeat, the U18’s assistant manager Mark Philips said: “I was very disappointed with the first half. We just didn’t seem to come out of the traps in the first half and it was a strange performance.

“In the second half, we came out fighting and I feel like we were on top for the first 10 to 15 minutes so it was nice to see us have a go.”

Despite the disappointing result, Philips is confident his charges will have learnt their lessons when they meet high-flying Villa on Saturday afternoon.

Philips continued: “Looking at the performance, Saturday was not the standard that we expect here at West Ham.

“We seemed to learn some lessons in the second half which is important.

 “Villa away was one of our best performances of the season. You know that you're always going to get a good, physical game from Villa.”

With the young Hammers currently seventh, five points away from the Elite Play Off spots, Philips knows it’ll be tough to close the gap with just four games remaining.

However he remains confident about his side’s chances: “We haven’t lost hope of getting into the top four playoff group. If we can put a run together in our final fixtures against Villa, Southampton, Swansea and Brighton then we can still get in there.

“It’s all well and good saying that, but we actually need to get out on that pitch and get the points on the board.”

The U18s play Aston Villa on Satursday 16 January at Little Heath, kick off is 12.30pm. Make sure you follow @whufc_official and whufc.com for updates and reaction.