Exclusive by Hugh Southon
West Ham’s under 23’s head for St James’ Park tomorrow night knowing that a Play off final victory will put them in amongst the “big boys” next season.
And in an exclusive interview with ClaretandHugh boss Terry Westley explained he believes the lads will beat the Geordies and take their place at the next level.
He said: “I expect our front four to provide the goals. There’ nothing between the two teams on results so far this season – one win, one draw and one defeat – but I believe we have the strength and power to win up there.”
And he revealed his team for the biggest match of the season to us explaining that his only injury worry was goalkeeper Nathan Trott adding that Raphael Speigel would take over should he not make it.
Westley said: The match is something of a double edged sword because if we win it puts us in against the major clubs like Manchester United and City, Spurs, Chelsea and the like next season if we make it.
“I will continue to send our better players out on loan and compete the league – if we make it – with our very best under 16s and those those who remain with us.
“The loan policy has been very successful with eight of them having made 165 Football league appearances this season. George Dobson alone has made 25 appearances for Walsall whilst Josh Cullen has been getting rave reviews at Bradford where he has been playing every week.”
For now though there’s only one match that matters – tomorrow night’s at Newcastle and here is the team Terry will put out: Trott or Speigel; Knoyle, Akinola, Rice, Sylvestre; Kemp, Makasi, Dobson, Holland; Samuelsen, Martinez.
He added: Domingos Quina has been carrying a knock and is training all week with the first team so we won’t take any chances with him as he may be needed for the first team against Burnley.”
In forthcoming features with the Academy boss , Terry talks exclusively to CandH about who he sees as the future Hammers stars, how far away they are from the first team, his philosophy, and how he will bridge a ten year gap which saw Mark Noble and James Tomkins arrive from the academy as first team players.