Hammers prepare for Exeter Checkatrade Trophy visit
West Ham United’s U21 team will face Exeter City in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday evening and Academy coach and manager of the side Liam Manning says his team are looking forward to the challenge.
The Hammers were beaten 2-0 by Bristol Rovers in their opening contest in the competition last week and will be desperate to put points on the board in Devon.
The Irons progressed through the group stages and into the knockout rounds in last season’s competition before falling to Luton Town.
And with Chelsea’s U21s reaching the semi-final stage last campaign before losing to eventual champions Lincoln City on penalties, all 16 invited Category One Academy teams will be hoping to emulate the Blues’ success this year.
The young Hammers are currently suffering from a number of injuries though – notably with Nathan Holland still missing and Xande Silva now absent with a hamstring problem – and Manning is aware Tuesday’s encounter will be a tough test for his team.
Exeter will play some good stuff and it’ll be another challenge for us in terms of going again
“It’s more like a first-team programme, which is ultimately what we’re getting the lads ready for, be that a loan or going into our first team, playing that Saturday-Wednesday, then the following weekend,” he observed.
“It’s a really good challenge physically in terms of how they look after themselves off the pitch. We’re getting ready to play against Exeter which will be another tricky game for us.
“We went down there three years ago in my first season at the club and played them in the Premier League Cup and they’ll play some good stuff and it’ll be another challenge for us in terms of going again. Ultimately, we’ll focus on our game and getting better at the things we need to do.”
West Ham are currently the only side pointless in their Southern Group D, with their third and final opponents Yeovil Town a point ahead and Exeter in the top two with a couple of points, following a penalty shootout win for a bonus point against the Glovers following a 0-0 draw.
The Hammers will make the journey back down to the west country in November to face Yeovil at Huish Park.
Supporters not attending the match at St. James Park tonight can follow all the action from 6:45pm on whufc.com.