Emmanuel Longelo: West Ham United U23s are trying to make Rush Green a fortress
West Ham United U23s left-back Emmanuel Longelo wants to keep his team’s unbeaten run at Rush Green Stadium going when Crystal Palace U23s make the journey across London on Friday evening.
The young Hammers will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of defeat at Derby County U23s on Monday night, with a quick turnaround leading into Friday’s derby game in East London.
West Ham remain in a good position in the Premier League 2 Division 1 table, sixth in the standings but only six points behind league leaders Manchester City, with Palace themselves just a point and a place below the Irons in seventh.
The young Hammers are, however, unbeaten at Rush Green Stadium – where the game will take place behind-closed-doors – since April, and indeed have only lost twice there in the 2021 calendar year.
“It was a tough evening at Derby,” Longelo told whufc.com.
“Right from the start, both teams were at it – I just think they edged it and were more clinical than us to win the game. We made some mistakes, but we’ve just got to learn from them against Crystal Palace.
“We’re trying to make Rush Green Stadium our fortress this season, so it’ll be good to be back at home.
“I don’t think we’ve lost there yet this season, including friendlies, so long may that continue, and we’re just looking to make home advantage count and win the game.”
Crystal Palace U23s are a new force in the top-flight of Premier League 2, having won promotion from Division 2 at the first time of asking after being awarded Category One Academy status last year.
Longelo therefore recognises that the young Eagles will be out to prove themselves, but is sure his team will match them for fight.
“I think Crystal Palace will be at it for sure,” he confirmed.
“When a new team come up to the league, they’ve got a lot to prove, so for sure they’ll be after us. It’s a London derby so I’m pretty sure they’ll be up for it, and we will be as well.
“The atmosphere’s very good in our group. We’re a bunch of positive lads and no defeat will stop us from going forward.
“We’re really hungry and we want to win every time we step out on the pitch, including on Friday.”
West Ham United U23s’ match against Crystal Palace U23s will be played behind-closed-doors at Rush Green Stadium on Friday 24 September, kicking off at 7pm. Only key personnel and invited guests will be admitted.
You can follow the game with our live blog on whufc.com from 6.30pm and Twitter updates, and there will be the usual array of post-match reaction and highlights pieces available over Friday evening and Saturday morning.