Johnson: Hammers full of confidence ahead of Derby clash

Ben Johnson


Ben Johnson says West Ham United’s U23s will be full of confidence heading into Monday’s Premier League 2 away fixture at Derby County.

The Hammers head to the Rams’ training ground sitting in fifth in the league table, only five points behind leader Leicester City.

And after two wins in successive matches this month – at Manchester City and Everton – Terry Westley’s youngsters have set their sights on a potential top-three finish.

Johnson, the side’s right-back, has been part of the defence which has kept clean sheets in three of their last four matches, and is raring to go on Monday.

He said: “The two wins have filled the back four and Nathan [Trott] in goal with confidence and we were ecstatic to keep another clean sheet.

“We just want to go onto the Derby match, keep going, keep this form up into our last two fixtures. We are fifth at the moment and maybe now we can aim for the top three if possible.

“We really controlled the game at Everton last week and we were comfortable under pressure. We were strong and resilient and we played our game and kept our good form going.

The two wins have filled the back four and Nathan [Trott] in goal with confidence and we were ecstatic to keep another clean sheet.

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson
“Hopefully we will be able to do the same at Derby and end the season strongly.”

After captain Marcus Browne had fired in a terrific free-kick winner at City’s Football Academy, the forward put in an even more impressive display on Merseyside, scoring four times in the 4-0 win at Southport FC.

Johnson was full of praise for his teammate, who has led the line since the loan departure of skipper Moses Makasi to Plymouth Argyle.

“Marcus was really good on Monday [last week],” Johnson explained. “He got a yellow in the first few minutes but after that he showed his experience and played superbly well.

“He has so much quality and we know we can rely on him when he has the ball in the opposition’s half.

“It was a very good week, last week, in general. In the first game, we dug deep and it was a very difficult match.

“We played our game more against Everton and we really showed our quality in the final third and it was an extremely good performance and we now want to keep that going.”

The Hammers play Derby on Monday 16 April away from home before hosting their final Premier League 2 game of the season at London Stadium against Arsenal.

Supporters can book their seat for the London derby by clicking here.