In a fixture that was re-arranged from December 2017 and on the 20th round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League 2 Division One campaign, Terry Westley’s West Ham United U23s make the lengthy trip to face David Unsworth’s Everton U23s for what promises to be an intriguing clash.

The Young Toffees go into the fixture eight days after a thrilling league defeat to Manchester City at Goodison Park, while the Young Hammers also faced the Citizens the last time that they took to the field, beating them at City’s Academy Stadium last Thursday evening, the visitors are the slight favourites for this one.


The Development Squad clash is scheduled to take place tomorrow evening (Monday 9 April 2018), with a kick-off time of 7 PM BST and as is customary with PL2 matches, no live television coverage available for viewing in the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any live radio commentary available to listen to from any outlet either, but never fear, if you head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter, you can be sure to find live build-up, updates and reaction from Merseyside.


The visit of Westley’s Irons is due to be held at Merseyrail Community Stadium, home of National League side Southport and host of many Everton U23 home fixtures and fixtures of other age groups of the club.

Haig Avenue, as it’s also known, was opened in 1905 and has a maximum capacity of just over 6,000 spectators, tomorrow will be the first time that any West Ham team have journey to the cosy venue, which has also been used by the Toffees’ force rivals Liverpool for their Academy in the past.

Team News:

Despite seeing many of his bright young starlets graduate to the first-team of the People’s Club in recent years, home manager Unsworth still has an impressive array of talents to choose from when picking his starting Xl, but few injuries too.

Expect the like of in-form striker Shayne Lavery, who netted two against the Sky Blues, exciting Polish goalkeeper Mateusz Hewelt and midfield wonder kid Josh Bowler to all feature in Southport, to name but a few danger men for the home side.

Meanwhile, visiting boss Westley does have the odd long-term injury concern heading into the fixture, but this is nothing new, with names such as Noha Sylvestre and Dan Kemp still side-lined and others missing through loans or participation in the first-team squad.

He has, however, now got ex-Everton winger Nathan Holland back fit and firing again, he has formed a deadly partnership with red-hot No10 and captain Marcus Browne in recent weeks, while England U20 shot-stopper Nathan Trott has been a tough nut to crack this season.


The Development Squads of Everton and West Ham United have met just once since the re-structure of football at this level which brought with it the concept of the Premier League 2 and U23 as opposed to U21 football.

That clash came in August 2017 and was the East Londoners’ first Division One match since promotion via the play-offs from Division Two last term, ending in a rather uninspiring goalless draw at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.

In terms of recent form, tomorrow’s hosts have won just one of their last five matches in all competitions and that victory came against Swansea City in the PL2 with a trio of league and Premier League Cup losses to Sunderland and Man City and Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion respectively in amongst it.

The visitors to the North West have fared slightly better in their own previous five outings, losing just twice, home disappointments against the Black Cats and Chelsea, drawing once in Dagenham to rivals Tottenham Hotspur and picking up a double of away triumphs against the Reds and the Citizens.

The Opposition:

The Academy of Everton Football Club was formed shortly after its formation in 1878 and since, has gone on to gain a reputation for being one of the most sophisticated and successful in the country.

The Toffeemen lifted the first ever PL2 Division One title last season meaning that they are the current reigning champions, the trophy went in their cabinet along with a countless number of Lancashire Senior Cups and Liverpool Senior Cups, among other honours at Reserves and U23 level.

In the past, players such as Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley and John Stones have been notable products of the Academy and youth system, nicknamed by some as “The School of Science”, while the latest crop is rich with the likes of England U21 stars Jonjoe Kenny, Kieran Dowell, Tom Davies, Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all hugely exciting prospects to come through in the last year or two.

Nowadays, under manager Unsworth, who recently enjoyed a short stint as caretaker boss of the first-team before the arrival of Sam Allardyce, his last game in charge being a home win over West Ham, the Blues sit sixth in the Division One standings, seven points off leaders Leicester and a single place and point ahead of the Irons.

So, now that the Merseyrail Community Stadium scene has been well and truly set for an exciting evening of PL2 football under the lights, can the Toffees overcome their recent poor run of form by leapfrogging Chelsea into fifth position?

Or, will the Hammers spoil the party to claim another impressive victory on the road and boost their own top-four hopes with three points in their spare match? Think you know? Be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to send in your score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.

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