Westley prepared for Southend clash

  • Dev Squad face Southend United in a friendly fixture on Saturday
  • After one defeat and one victory, the clash is the U21s’ third pre-season match
  • The squad travel to the Netherlands on Sunday for their own summer tour
West Ham United’s Development Squad face Southend United in their third pre-season fixture on Saturday and manager Terry Westley thinks the clash will offer his side a stern test.
The young Hammers beat Peterborough United 2-1 last week after an opening match defeat to Chelmsford City and will be hoping to put in another impressive performance in Essex.
The fixture, at Great Wakering Rovers’ Burroughs Park, is the side’s last before many of the squad travel to the Netherlands on Sunday for their pre-season tour where they will face the Club’s paired side VVV Venlo as well as FC Eindhoven.
And Westley believes the clash against Southend’s first team will provide the ideal test for his side ahead of the trip.
He said: “Tuesday’s game against Peterborough gave the young players an awful lot of confidence, and you could even see that for the next few days on the grass in training.
“The Southend game will give us a whole new different set of problems to handle, and it will be a great game for us to contest. The style of play from Phil Brown’s team will challenge us.
Southend challenged for the play-offs last year so it will be a very competitive game on Saturday, and a physical game for us
“They challenged for a long while to get near the play-offs last year so it will be a very competitive game on Saturday, and a more physical game for our young ones, I think.”
A number of the Academy’s stars are currently away with the first team in Austria, while Reece Oxford and Sam Howes have been travelling with England’s U19 squad in Germany for the European Championships.
The different experiences all the youngsters have gained is pleasing to see for the Academy’s Director.
“Ten players who could play for us against Southend aren’t, because they’re either away with international sides or with the first team,” Westley continued. “It will be a very young side for us out against Southend, but also with the inclusion of Diego Poyet.
“What the youngsters are doing out in Austria is a clear example of the link between Slaven [Bilic], the first team staff and ourselves. Training with the first team group can only help them and us.
“I believe they’ll still be there for the Europa League clash next Thursday, so hopefully one or two will be able to show what they can do in that game."
The match at Great Wakering Rovers’ home kicks-off at 3pm and tickets can be purchased on the door at Burroughs Park.