Derby County U23 vs West Ham United U23 – Everything you need to know
After two impressive results in a row on the road, West Ham United’s development team return to Premier League 2 Division 1 on Monday night when they travel to face Derby County U23s at Loughborough University Stadium.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game …
The story so far
Sometimes football can work in a fun way.
In their last league outing one week, the young Hammers were combative, energetic and impressive to come back from behind against much-coveted opposition – but denied victory by a late penalty in a 2-2 draw at Leeds United .
On Tuesday, Dmitri Halajko’s development team traveled to Portman Road to take on senior opposition in Ipswich Town – one of the division’s favorites to get a promotion before the start of the season – in their game opening of the group stages of the Papa John Trophy.
And once again, despite falling behind in the second minute, the bright young talents of West Ham showed their resilience, grafting and – when it mattered – quality, leveling ten minutes later thanks to the goal. well-marked team of Keenan Forson.
Where a late penalty shootout had denied them three days before, this time it was to prove their possibility of securing an unlikely victory, Armstrong Okoflex burying him 12 yards with just a few seconds on the clock.
The boys from Claret and Blue are now hoping to show their exceptional character for a third away game in a row, fully aware that three points in Leicestershire against Derby could lift them to second place in the table, waiting for other results this weekend.
Overall, however, Halajko can look back on his team’s results in the first month of the season with pride, having given himself a great platform to fight for a high finish in the Premier’s top flight. League 2 and qualify for the Dad. John’s Trophy Round of 16.
Conversely, Derby County has had a less promising start to the season, with the dismal announcement on Friday that the club are set to take office amid lingering financial woes.
It is to the Rams’ credit that, even with a shallow squad, they continued to earn points in the Championship, with eight of the 18 Derby players in the Team of the Day against Stoke on Saturday coming from their academy. .
One of those players, 20-year-old striker Jack Stretton, netted a hat-trick against Hammers in Premier League 2 last season, and scored his first senior goal for Derby in August after scoring three in five games in ready. in Stockport County in March.
The quick and straight forward striker scored eight times in ten Premier League 2 games last season to earn the opportunity and, having started Saturday’s game on the bench, could be in line to start for their U23 on Monday night.
Former Football Academy playmaker Louie Watson made a dozen appearances for Derby at this stadium, and was joined in the last squads of the first team by England U21 international defender Lee Buchanan, midfielders midfielder Max Bird and Louie Sibley (a promising English U20 player), and young forwards Festy Ebosele and Jason Knight.
The ripple effect of these promotions, however, has seen the Derby U23s struggle in Premier League 2 so far this season; using many of their U18s, the young Rams have been beaten in all three league games so far, albeit all against strong academies, and sit at the bottom of the table.
Managed by former Pat Lyons, however, the Rams’ recent strong record at this level – they finished fourth in 2019/20 and sixth last season – suggests they shouldn’t be underestimated, especially when the opportunity to potentially play first. team football is within the reach of their players.
The last time…
The Hammers’ recent record against the Rams at this level is not favorable, with just one win in eight games since the Professional Development League was formed in 2012.
Last season, the two teams played a largely attritional 0-0 draw at Rush Green in February, after seeing Stretton’s aforementioned hat-trick knocking off the Hammers. 3-2 in the reverse match in November 2020 – a game in which we have scored twice in the last ten minutes to prepare for a grandstand finish at Loughborough.
Ahead of those encounters, West Ham took advantage of their trip to Pride Park in their first-ever Premier League International Cup quarter-final in March 2020: a 6-5 penalty shootout victory coming after a spectacular 3-3 draw.
And Halajko’s team will have fonder memories of their last visit to Loughborough University: a 4-1 victory in the preseason at the stadium, against the University Football Club, at the climax of their preseason training camp in July.
What they say
West Ham United U23 midfielder Keenan Forson: “We’re just going to resume from last week.
“I hope if we can get another win it will be great. Obviously we’ll be tired, but that’s no excuse – we’re just going to keep going and hopefully we can get the win in Derby.
How can I follow?
Fans can once again attend the U23 Derby home matches, and tickets can be purchased before each match from the Loughborough Sport website.
Advance shopping is advised and all tickets will be for the terraces of Loughborough University Stadium.
If you can’t attend the match, you can still follow the proceedings with our live blog at whufc.com from 6.30pm. There will also be post-match reactions and highlights snippets available to read after the final whistle.