West Ham’s Under-23s team are gearing up for a clash with Arsenal’s youngsters tonight at the London Stadium in front of the Hammers fans.
The match against Arsenal Under-23s marks the start of the Premier League 2 campaign and the Hammers youngsters have been given the opportunity to play at the London Stadium and will do so in front of a home crowd.
West Ham’s Rush Green training ground is the usual venue for the Under-23s matches and for now, the training complex remains a behind closed doors venue adding extra excitement for tonight’s match.
Hammers Academy player Freddie Potts is thrilled at the prospect of playing in front of a home crowd: “I think it’s going to be one of my biggest highlights from the last few seasons,” Potts told the club website.
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“Playing at the London Stadium is a massive thing for us Academy players, whether that’s for the Under-23s or first-team. It’s going to be a massive achievement for us.
“Having supporters there at the stadium is going to be a great part of that. A lot of us might not have played in front of many fans before, so it’s going to be a new challenge and it’ll be a really good experience for us as players.”
It will be the first time in 18 months that home fans are able to watch one of the development teams in action, with tickets still available for the match. The club have priced tickets at just £5 for adults and £3 for children in order to drum up support for the match, with Hammers season ticket holders gaining entry for free if booked in advance.
Potts is one of a number of exciting youngsters in the West Ham academy and is expected to be joined in the team but a trio of summer signings.
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Thierry Nevers, Pierre Ekwah, and Armstrong Okoflex all joined West Ham earlier this year and have featured during the first-team pre-season friendlies and along with talented striker Mipo Odubeko are the standout names to look out for against Arsenal.
Kick-off is at 7pm and with no further Under-23s matches scheduled for the London Stadium for the foreseeable future this could be the only chance fans have to watch the future stars in action for quite some time.