West Ham United return to Premier League Cup action on Monday 8 April against fellow Premier League 2 Division 1 side Leeds United.
Monday’s fixture will kick-off at 4.00pm BST, with the winners progressing through the round of 16 and into the quarter-finals, where a home match with Fulham awaits.
The development side’s cup fixture will be available to watch live on YouTube, while updates from the game will also be found at whufc.com and on Twitter.
Read on for everything you need to know about our U23s’ next game…
The story so far
Having played two matches in Premier League 2 action over the last week, claiming a 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur before suffering defeat against Blackburn Rovers on Friday, our development side return to Premier League Cup action against Leeds United.
Mark Robson’s side finished top of Group F to ensure their passage into the round of 16 in the competition, claiming 13 points from six matches played against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Exeter City and Swansea City.
Taking top spot means the Irons earned themselves a home tie in the first knock-out stage fixture, which comes against a Leeds team that claimed second in Group E.
The winner of Monday’s round of 16 match will face Fulham in a home match on Friday 22 April in the quarter-finals.
What is the Premier League Cup?
Reinstated in the absence of the Premier League International Cup this season, on hold due to COVID-related considerations, the Premier League Cup is the domestic equivalent of that competition, and has returned after not taking place in 2020/21.
Open to Category One and Two Academies, with Categories Three and Four clubs competing in qualifiers to join them, the tournament is designed to enhance the competitiveness of the Professional Development Phase league calendar with knockout football.
West Ham United U23s secured four wins, one draw and suffered just one defeat in the group stages of the 2021/22 competition, defeating Exeter City 3-2 at home and 3-0 away while also doing the double over Swansea City, claiming a 4-2 win on the road before a 1-0 at Rush Green Stadium.
A 1-0 defeat away to Wolverhampton Wanderers was followed by a 0-0 draw at home, which saw the Irons finish top of Group E with 13 points.
Leeds United sit tenth in Premier League 2 Division 1 but have claimed three wins in their last five league matches, taking a total of ten points.
The Peacocks boast a number of high profile talent at development level, with a host of players regularly getting the opportunity to shine in the Premier League squad in recent weeks and months.
Striker Joe Gelhardt is perhaps the highest profile of these, having netted seven times in ten Premier League 2 appearances. Fellow forward Sam Greenwood has also been prolific, with nine goals and five assists in 17 outings.
In centre-back pairing Nohan Kenneh and Kris Moore, Leeds have a duo who have staked their claim to being the U23s regular defensive duo, playing 23 and 22 league games respectively this campaign.
With 42 goals scored in the league this season, Leeds are one of Premier League 2’s most feared attacking threats, and the Hammers will need to be at their best to progress to the Premier League Cup last eight.
Last time out
A chilly winter’s evening welcomed Leeds United to Rush Green Stadium the last time the Hammers met the Peacocks, in early January.
Facing each other in Premier League 2 action, a goalless first half was followed by Pierre Ekwah’s low finish from the edge of the penalty area on 56 minutes, giving the home side a deserved advantage.
Dan Chesters and Emmnuel Longelo would both test Leeds, with the latter hitting the woodwork, before Conor Coventry struck a superb strike to double the advantage on 79 minutes.
The win was secured with five minutes to play as a Mipo Odubeko’s cross fell loosely in the penalty area, allowing Armstrong Okoflex to power home a strike from close range.
You can watch full highlights from our last match with Leeds in the video player below!
What they’re saying
Manny Longelo: “This is a game we really want to win. It has been one of our season targets, to do well in the Premier League Cup.
"Friday’s result was disappointing but we just need to recover well, go again and give it a big push ahead of Leeds.
How can I follow?
Monday’s Premier League Cup match between West Ham United and Leeds United will be available to stream live on the Club’s official YouTube Channel!
The fixture kicks off at 4.00pm BST and live coverage on our YouTube Channel will begin approximately ten minutes prior.
Fans should note that Monday’s Premier League Cup fixture is being played behind closed doors and only club officials and invited guests will be permitted entrance to Rush Green Stadium.
Supporters unable to join our live stream will be able to follow along for minute-by-minute coverage in our live blog, which will be available from an hour before kick-off at whufc.com. Significant updates from the match will also be shared on Twitter.
Full highlights and reaction from the lead coach and players will be available on whufc.com on Monday evening and throughout Tuesday.