Powell hoping to seize opportunity

  • The Hammers’ U23s take on Leicester City at Dagenham and Redbridge in the Premier League Cup on Thursday
  • Joe Powell is hoping the side can bounce back after last week’s disappointing 2-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers
  • The winger got the chance to play centre-forward in Lancashire and now wants to build on that opportunity

Academy star Joe Powell is hoping he did enough during West Ham United Premier League 2’s last outing at Blackburn Rovers to keep his place in the side when the U23s take on Leicester City in the Premier League Cup on Thursday.

The Hammers face the Foxes knowing a second victory against the side in the competition this season would see them as favourites to qualify for the knockout stages in group E alongside Brighton and Hove Albion.

Terry Westley’s side put on one of their most accomplished performances against Leicester back in October when they were 2-0 winners, scoring one of the goals of the season – Domingos Quina’s incredible strike from the halfway line.

And Powell, who played in the No9 role against Rovers last week, hopes he can be a part of another Hammers victory.

He said: “Now I’ve got that opportunity with the U23s, and considering I think I did pretty well in the last game, I just want to kick on and stay in this squad until the end of the season. That’s the aim for me.

“It was definitely a different challenge playing in that role from what I’m used to but I enjoyed the challenge of playing there and I think I did well in the game.

Powell played as a striker against Blackburn

“Obviously it was disappointing not to pair that with a good result, but hopefully we can perform better against Leicester.”

With a number of the U23s’ staple players from the first half of the season moving out on loan in the Football League – Marcus Browne, Toni Martinez and Alex Pike to name a few – spots in the starting XI are up from grabs.

And Powell believes the next few weeks present a real chance for the younger players at the Club to shine in the older age groups.

“There are so many opportunities now,” he continued. “That goes the same for the U16s into the U18s as well as the U23s and there’s just massive opportunities for everybody all throughout the Academy from now until the end of the season.

“That’s a big thing for all the younger players to gain experience in older age groups.

“There have probably been a few more loans this year and that shows our massive progression in the last few years, with Terry Westley wanting every single player to move forward.

“Obviously, you want everyone to get opportunities with the first team but when that’s not possible, going on loan can be the best thing to get experience.

“I wasn’t involved in the cup run last season so this season that’s a new experience for me. I’d like to be involved in some part of it and hopefully we can do as well as we did last season and get the win.”

The Hammers take on Leicester City in the group stages of the Premier League Cup on Thursday 9 February at Dagenham and Redbridge’s Chigwell Construction Stadium. Tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £3 concessions, while West Ham Season Ticket Holders can attend for free.