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Hammers test for Under-21s

27 January 2016

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Rovers' Under-21s are back on the cup trail this Wednesday night when they take on West Ham United in the quarter-finals of the U21 Premier League Cup.

The development squad reached the final of last season's competition, eventually losing out to Southampton after extra-time over two legs, and now travel south with the aim of making it to the last four of this year's contest.

Damien Johnson's side have reached this stage courtesy of a 3-1 extra-time win over Burnley and a 1-0 win over Leicester City at Brockhall earlier this month.

Whilst the Hammers defeated Exeter City 4-0 in their opening round before needing extra-time to get past Fulham 3-2 last time out.

The Under-21s lead coach is looking forward to tonight's tie at the Rush Green Stadium and insists they go to Romford in good heart despite the narrow weekend loss at Stoke City.

"We'll go down there with a young squad so it will be a big challenge for them," said Johnson.

"We've had to look after them with them playing the game on Saturday, but we've trained well and are fully focussed on the game."

The two sides have already met in the league this season, serving up a seven-goal thriller at Ewood Park back in September with Rovers coming from behind three times before running out 4-3 winners thanks to a brace from Connor Mahoney.

But with the Hammers on a nine-match unbeaten run the Rovers coach knows it will be a tough tie.

He added: "At Ewood they started really well and it took us until half-time to get going, but we showed our quality in the game and scored some excellent goals.

"But they are playing well at the moment with a couple of wins over Fulham, it is on their home patch and they'll be confident.

"But we are going down there looking forward to it and full of confidence."

A young squad have travelled south with Rovers expected to name a similar line-up to the one that faced Stoke City on Saturday. Full team news will be confirmed later this afternoon.

Kick-off at Rush Green is at 7.00pm. There is free entry for those Rovers fans able to make the match.

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