West Ham United U23s travel to Stoke City U23s on Monday night looking to keep their unbeaten league record intact.
The Hammers arrive at the bet365 stadium having earned 19 points from a possible 21 so far, and currently occupy top spot in Premier League 2 Division 2.
Monday’s game is the first game of an away double-header for Dmitri Halajko’s side this week, with the young squad also travelling to Norwich City on Friday night.
With fixtures coming thick and fast in the coming weeks, valuable minutes are sure to be given to those returning from injury, and striker Louie Watson is no exception.
I haven’t really played since pre-season, but it was good to be back playing competitively again.
The forward made his return to action against Cheltenham Town in the Leasing.com Trophy, replacing Iyiola Adebayo in the 79th minute as the Hammers poured forwards in search of an equaliser.
“It was great to be back out there,” smiled Watson. “I haven’t really played since pre-season, but it was good to be back playing competitively.
“It’s never nice to lose but it’s bittersweet for me because I’m glad to be back playing. I’m sure we’ll be able to put that behind us and get back to winning ways.”
Watson is looking to put his injury struggles behind him and aims to become a regular starter with the U23s this season.
“For me personally, I’ve had spells in the team, and I’ve had spells out of the team with injury," he said. "At the moment I’m just trying to look at the short-term and getting back into the team and get back playing regular football.
“I want to get back my match fitness, because I haven’t played a full game since last season.”
It’s been nearly two weeks since the 4-3 loss to Cheltenham and Watson believes the squad has well and truly put that result behind them ahead of the trip to Stoke.
“We’ve had a couple of weeks now, and our next game is against Stoke. We’ve had a good few weeks of training and we’re ready to get back to winning ways.
“It wasn’t one of those defeats that you hang on to - we’ve been able to move on straight away and stay focused on what we want to achieve this season.”