Huge night ahead for Hammers teenager

West Ham United U21s stopper Joseph Anang is getting ready for another tough test in the cup when he travels with the Hammers to Cheltenham Town tonight.

Anang hasn’t missed a minute of play time during the competitive games for the Academy side this season.

He’s only 19 but has already had  a big influence in the squad’s unbeaten record, especially in the game against Sunderland in which he was seriously impressive in the second half.

Anang looks likely busy again against League Two side Cheltenham Town, who could make it a really tough night for the teenager.

They currently sit fifth in their league with 2 points having only lost two games from 11 and scoring 21 goals with just 11 against to record the best goal difference of any in the league.

It will be a huge test for the under 23s who are looking to stretch their unbeaten record to 17 in the west country.

“Cheltenham is going to be a massive game,” he said. “They’re obviously another league side. You know when you go there it’s going to be a massive challenge, so we just need to make sure that we are ready and then see what happens.”

The development squad has yet to be defeated, Anang feels there’s a good atmosphere at the camp after a great start to the season for them.

“We’re really buzzing at the moment; 3 points clear at the top of the table, we’re all very excited. If we keep working hard, why can’t this carry on?

“I think we’ve got some quality players and we move the ball really well. Hopefully the Cheltenham game will be less exciting than Newport for me and we don’t concede. You always want to keep a clean sheet.”

The young hammer is relishing the opportunity he’s been given between the goal posts, and is hoping he can keep up to the expectations.

“It’s all about hard work,” Anang admitted.

“When you are the first-choice goalkeeper, it’s very different from being a back-up. It’s much more difficult being a back-up and waiting for your opportunity when the first choice is not around.”

After the great game against Sunderland U23 last week, winning 4-2, Anang praised the excellent progress that the squad has made over the last 12 months.

“I feel like we are playing much better than last season,” he said.“It was those types of games last season that we were losing!