West Ham will hope to stretch their unbeaten run to seven games with the midweek trip to Oxford United. League One side Oxford host the Hammers at The Kassam Stadium in the Third Round of the EFL Cup.
Manuel Pellegrini will probably ring the changes as he usually does for the cup ties. And there are several youngsters who are performing well for West Ham’s unbeaten U23 team. Here are five who should be considered for the trip to Oxford.
West Ham signed Goncalo Cardoso late in the summer transfer window. The Portugal youth international already has first-team experience with Boavista and there were some suggestions that he was first-team ready.
However, the 18-year-old has been limited to U23 appearances so far. Now that he is up to speed with minutes for the academy side, Cardoso could make his senior bow against lower league opposition.
Conor Coventry played in the last round of the EFL Cup – coming on as a late substitute against Newport County. The Republic of Ireland U21 starlet marshals the U23 team and he is an integral part of the midfield.
There is a real feeling that Coventry will be ready to break into the first-team in the near future. The 19-year-old is a tough-tackling midfielder who will benefit from more senior minutes.
Joe Powell was given a one-year contract extension last summer to prove himself. And the left-footed midfield playmaker could hardly have done more so far this season.
With two goals and three assists in the Premier League 2 this season, Powell is proving his point. The 20-year-old has played one senior game, providing two assists in the EFL Cup last season, so he could get another shot.
West Ham fans have been begging for Nathan Holland to win a promotion for a while now. And the 21-year-old’s goal and two assists against Middlesbrough U23 last weekend sent a positive message to Manuel Pellegrini.
The ex-Everton and England U19 winger operates on the left and he has pace, skill and an eye for goal. Pellegrini cannot ignore Holland for much longer after his U23 performances.
Anthony Scully has come out of nowhere to become a key member of the U23 team this year. After Sean Adarkwa suffered an injury and Oladapo Afolayan was sent out on loan, the Republic of Ireland youngster was transformed from a winger into a centre-forward.
Scully has had no issue acclimatising to his new role with seven goals in just six games. The 20-year-old should be considered for a bench role behind Albian Ajeti if Pellegrini wants to rest Sebastien Haller.