Sam Byram is looking forward to returning to action for West Ham United’s U23s on Friday as he continues his recovery from a thigh problem.
The full-back last turned out in Claret and Blue back in October, for the Club’s memorable 3-2 comeback victory in the Carabao Cup against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.
But since, the 24-year-old has been forced to sit on the sidelines as manager David Moyes, who was appointed during Byram’s period on the treatment table, implements his philosophy on the team.
Friday’s Premier League 2 clash against Leicester City will give the defender a chance to build up his fitness, however, and the Hammers’ No22 can’t wait to get back on the pitch.
He said: “I am really looking forward to being involved on Friday and getting some more minutes back in my legs.
“There is bags of talent in the U23 team and they are a great group of lads too. The intensity and training and matches is always very sharp and that’s credit to Terry [Westley] and his staff.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for the way he manages the team and gets them playing, so I’m looking forward to it.”
It was frustrating for the former Leeds man to miss out in training as Moyes arrived in east London, but the defender is now focusing on getting his head down to impress the gaffer in the coming weeks.
With the Hammers frequently deploying a five-man defensive line, Byram also believes he could slot into the starting XI and enjoy playing in the system.
I am really looking forward to being involved on Friday and getting some more minutes back in my legs
“I think the timing of my injury made it even more frustrating with the new manager arriving a few days after I did it,” Byram explained.
“It’s a fresh start for everyone when new staff come in, but hopefully I can get off to a good start under the new boss and work my way into his team and future plans.
“I played as a wingback for quite a while at Leeds so that position is not new to me. I think it allows me to get forward a lot which is the part of my game I enjoy the most.
“It’s obviously a very demanding position physically to get up and down the full pitch all game supporting both attack and defence, but with time and fitness, I’m confident I could do a good job there.”
Though it has been a frustrating time for the full-back, Byram has been happy with the way his recovery has gone and credits the medical staff at the Club for the way he has progressed since the injury.
“It’s gone well, the recovery,” he continued. “It has been a smooth process from start to finish with very little, if any, problems throughout.
“That’s great credit to the physio staff and Swifty [Eamon Swift, rehab]. My thigh feels in a really good place now, a lot stronger before so it’s just fitness and match minutes I need now.
“The main target is to get through a good period of the game on Friday and depending on how that goes will determine my availability for squad selection for the Shrewsbury game on Tuesday.
“I would love to be back involved on Tuesday and back at London Stadium but I am firstly focusing on the match on Friday and then I’ll take it from there.”
Supporters who are Season Ticket Holders can attend Friday’s match at Dagenham and Redbridge’s Chigwell Construction Stadium – which kicks-off at 7pm against Leicester City – for free. Regular tickets are priced at £5 and £3 for adults and concessions respectively.