West Ham striker Veron Parkes is in pole position to lead the line for the U23 team tonight.
Dmitri Halajko’s U23 side have their final group stage game in the EFL Trophy. West Ham take on Exeter City and it will be a tough test for a heavily depleted side. However, the lack of options could open the door for Parkes to shine.
International break depletes squad
West Ham have had a number of youngsters called up to the senior squad. Among them is strike pair Anthony Scully and Amadou Diallo. Both players will be missing tonight.
Scully’s sensational form has seen him win promotion to the Republic of Ireland U21 squad. With 13 goals in as many games, the 20-year-old cannot be ignored by his country.
There are other striker options unavailable for West Ham. Xande Silva remains sidelined while Oladapo Afolayan is out on loan. Meanwhile, Sean Adarkwa is also injured.
Veron Parkes gets golden opportunity
With limited options in the attack, Halajko will probably turn to Parkes. The 18-year-old has scored nine goals in nine matches for the U18 team this season and deserves a chance with the U23s.
He has also been in and around Halajko’s squad. Operating out wide or in a striker role, Parkes has started one game and come off the bench five times for the U23 team. The teenager has one goal to his name – in the EFL Trophy against Newport County.
Another alternative for Halajko is Mipo Odubeko. The 17-year-old joined from Manchester United after a trial period and he will be targeting a rapid rise through the ranks.