Pike relishing Rovers' test

Alex Pike's Dev Squad host Blackburn Rovers on Monday 7 March at Rush Green
West Ham United’s Development Squad are looking to emulate the first team’s heroics when they face Blackburn Rovers at Rush Green on Monday 7 March.

Terry Westley’s men have been in terrific form recently; losing just one in their last 13 matches.

Already this season, the Hammers have faced Rovers twice, losing 4-3 away at Ewood Park in an enthralling game before knocking the Lancashire side out of the Barclays U21 Premier League Cup.

Looking ahead to Monday night’s encounter, right-back Alex Pike explained there is still an element of the unknown about the visitors: “Blackburn are a tough side to play against in the sense that you don’t know what they’re going to do. We’ve had a couple of scrappy games against them but what we have to focus on is making sure we play the game we want to play.”

However, given the Dev Squad’s form, the 19-year-old is confident the Hammers will be triumphant if they play to their best. 

He continued: “If we continue to focus on ourselves and make sure we do the things we need to do then I’m sure we’ll do well.

“It’s always good to be playing well because it gives you that bit extra that you need. We’re all confident and looking forward to Monday night.”

Recently, Pike has been one of several Academy graduates to feature in first team squads, alongside Dev Squad teammate George Dobson.

Both Hammers have established themselves as crucial components of Westley’s team and could well feature on Monday night.

Pike finished by saying: “It just shows how well Dobbo is doing, to be on the bench in such a high-profile games is great for him.

“Also for Reece to be brought on is great for everyone at the Academy. It’s great that Slaven is giving young players a chance, even if they’re not playing, getting them involved in the squad, it’s good.

“I like training with the first team because it’s very challenging. You’re up against some great players; Payet, Lanzini so it’s hard and you’re constantly tested which is good, I enjoy the challenge.”

The Development Squad host Blackburn Rovers on Monday 7 March at Rush Green Stadium, kick off 7pm. Admission is free for all fans.