In Game Week Nine of The PL2 Division One campaign, Terry Westley’s bright young Hammers face the daunting prospect of entertaining Manchester City, with the chance to climb to third in the Table with a surprise victory.
The Claret & Blue starlets head into the pivotal clash off the back of last Sunday’s frustrating 0-0 draw away at Chelsea, whereas, The Citizens are high on confidence having given League One side Bradford City a good run for their money in The Checkatrade Trophy, but couldn’t prevent a 2-1 defeat in the end.
The encounter is due to kick-off at 1 PM GMT this afternoon (Saturday 28 October 2017), the same day that Slaven Bilic’s first-team make the trip to Selhurst Park.
As is customary with most PL2 encounters, there will be no mainstream Television or Radio Coverage available in The UK, but if you head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter, you will find all the live build-up, action and reaction from Dagenham today.
Dagenham & Redbridge’s Chigwell Construction Stadium will host the meeting, our U23’s have been using the stadium, located in Dagenham, Essex, since the start of last season.
Opening in 1916, the small venue has a capacity of just over 6,000 and a record attendance of around 500 below that number, today’s match-up will spell the first time that Simon Davies’ men have visited The Ground.
Terry Westley could welcome back the likes of Marcus Browne, Martin Samuelsen, and vice-Skipper Moses Makasi, who have all sat out the last few games with injury, back into his Squad for the clash.
Meanwhile, centre-back Noha Sylvestre remains out and will be for some time with injury problems of his own and The U23s also could be without Captain Declan Rice, after the Irish International impressed yet again under Bilic in midweek.
Whereas, Simon Davies has no such injury concerns heading into his side’s trip South, as he boasts a fit Squad of talented youngsters.
These include the likes of Netherlands U19 star Javairo Dilrosun, promising young English striker on blistering form Lucas Nmecha, 17-year-old wonderkid Rabbi Matondo and young French forward David Faupala.
The Development Squads of West Ham United and Manchester City have met only three times since the re-shuffle of Football at that level.
Out of the trio of meetings, remarkably, the Manchester club have failed to win a game, drawing twice and losing once, in the most recent encounter when the young Hammers triumphed 2-1 in April 2015.
Manchester City’s U23 side, or EDS (Elite Development Squad as they are known within The City Football Group), possess one of the most sophisticated Football Youth Systems in the World.
Based just a stones’ throw from The Etihad Stadium in an elite Training Base, success has flowed in recent years as they picked up The Premier League International Cup in its inaugural year and maintained a place in The PL2 Division One consistently since its birth.
Famous graduates of City’s Academy to have played for The Development Squad include the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ryan Giggs, Kasper Schmeichel and Daniel Sturridge, to name but a few recent notables.
Currently managed by experienced Welsh Boss Simon Davies, they are underwhelmingly sitting seventh in Division One after a poor start, but are not alone with the Rivals Manchester United and Chelsea also struggling, but with such a talented breed of players, a good run of form is overdue.
So, with the scene well and truly set for all the action to unfold in East London this afternoon, can the Hammers starlets pick up an impressive City scalp to make it three PL2 wins in four?
Or, will the young Citizens finally find their mojo and a vital victory to kick-start what has been a torrid campaign for them so far? We will find out in a matter of mere hours’.