Moyes has big decision to make over five kids

Baptiste - West Ham News


By Hughie Southon

David Moyes and his backroom staff have major issues to decide on five academy players as the end of the season approaches.

According to Jamal Baptiste among five starlets West Ham face transfer decisions over amid expiring contracts – five of their best youngster are coming to the end of their contracts and it is crunch time for the manager and board as they decide whether they are to remain at the club or leave.

The Hammers’ academy has had a brilliant campaign with the under-18s now close to lifting the Under-18s Premier League South table and in the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup next month.

However, with the club having allowed Pierre Ekwah, Aji Alese, Harrison Ashby, Manny Longelo and Will Greenidge leave during the current season, it remains to seen what attitude the manager will take over the five.

It will also test his explanation he had allowed youngsters to leave in order to make space for bright young prospects emerging from the Under 18s.

Republic of Ireland youth international winger Armstrong Okoflex spent the first half of the season on loan at Swansea City in the Championship and is on the list. The Hammers have a one year option on him but he has barely featured for the under 21 since returning from a Swansear loan deal.

Centre-back Jamal Baptiste went five months without playing for the academy and last month, first-team manager David Moyes has suggested the defender has not helped himself whilst Levi Laing – who impressed when coming on in the second leg of the game against Larnaca looks certain to be offered a new deal.

Meanwhile.  playmaker Kamarai Swyer has been a regular for the Hammers’ under-21s this season and also made his senior debut against Romanian side FCSB, a game which midfielder Keenan Appiah-Forson also played in. Both are on the five-man list of players that West Ham must make decisions over.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon