Scully: U23s will relish Middlesbrough away day

Anthony Scully

West Ham United U23s’ recent packed fixture programme has only been making the squad stronger, according to striker Anthony Scully.

The young Hammers have been in fine fettle under new U23s lead coach Dmitri Halajko so far this season, unbeaten in 14 matches with only Manchester United U23s denying them victory in a competitive fixture.

Looking ahead to their next test in the Premier League 2 Division 2– a long trip to Teesside to face Middlesbrough on Friday night – Scully believes the squad are relishing every match in the schedule as they continue to maintain their winning momentum.

“Everyone’s happy, but it’s also calm in the dressing room,” he said. “We’re not getting too ahead of ourselves – we’re just looking ahead to the next game all the time. 

“It’s been a quick turnaround since Monday’s win against West Brom, but we believe in ourselves and we have confidence in our way of playing, so it’s not surprising what we’re doing. We’ve just got to keep it going. 

“It’s good to have these long trips because we’re all going up and spending time together as a team. It’s a laugh - it’s always great being around with the lads, especially when you’re winning! We just want the games to keep on coming – hopefully it’ll be another win on Friday.”

The Irish youth international initially featured in midfield for the U23s this season, before stepping up to lead the line following Oladapo Afolayan’s loan move to Mansfield Town at the end of August.

Scully has adapted admirably to his new role, striking twice in the second half on Monday night to inflict a 2-0 defeat upon an experienced West Brom side.

Those goals took Scully’s tally to five in five competitive appearances in Claret and Blue – making him the side’s top scorer this season – but the forward admitted his only target is the overall success of the team.

“It feels good, yeah,” Scully said. “I’ve been playing in a different position for just over a month, and I’m really enjoying it up top. Everything’s going well personally, but more importantly, the team got three points on Monday and we kept our unbeaten run going, which is the main thing.

“I’ve no goalscoring target – I just want to keep playing and see how many I can get by the end of the season. Ideally I’ll get a goal every time I play!”

Anthony Scully strikes a late winner against Newport County in the Trophy

In addition to his brace against the Baggies, the striker also provided two inch-perfect passes late on when his teammates burst forward on the counter-attack – testament to the side’s collective diligence, according to Scully.

“[Dan] Kempy and Nath [Holland] – I would’ve fancied them to score both of them!” Scully laughed. 

“That just shows our work-rate though – in the last minute, Kempy and Nath were both getting into the box, working hard, and then getting all the way back and making blocks at the other end to preserve our lead. 

“That’s exactly what everybody in our team is like. Even though we’re two up, we’re still going for more. We kept working hard and when you do that as a team, your quality eventually will show through.

“It’s just a product of our work every day in training. Dmitri Halajko and Steve Potts have put it into us about our work ethic, so that’s not even a question for us now – it’s just what we do. Everything else stems from that really.”

Following Friday night’s match at Middlesbrough, West Ham U23s will continue their Premier League 2 Division 2 campaign at home to Sunderland on Sunday 29 September.

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