With a hectic schedule that includes European action on Thursday, July 23, and a tasty clash with Charlton Athletic on Saturday, July 25, West Ham fielded a development squad at a friendly – and paid the price.
Colchester beat a West Ham XI 1-0 at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, with the visitors succumbing to a former Irons trainee George Moncur who scored from a free kick early on.
Notable in a second string West Ham side was striker Devante Cole, 20, son of the prolific England scorer Andy, who is on a short trial. Academy manager Terry Westley confirmed the club were hoping to secure the services of Cole, who has also been offered a contract at Manchester City.
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Westley said: “He is someone we will look at seriously. We are short in those forward positions. He showed flashes that he is dangerous and we know of him because it is part of our job to know the talented young players around.
“He does not see a pathway through at Man City, so he is available and is someone we will look at seriously.”
Manager Slaven Bilic, focussing on the trip to Malta to face Birkirkara taking a vulnerable 1-0 lead from the home tie, declined to risk any front line players in Essex.
The result was that Colchester were in control for much of the game with Irons goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel having to make a handful of smart saves in front of 6,650 people.
Westley said: “We knew if the first team had won really well [in the first leg] against Birkirkara, then we would have probably gone to Malta and the first team would have come and played this fixture."
Westley will be working with a sprinkling of players not making the trip because of injury or their cup-tied status, including Carl Jenkinson, Enner Valencia and Dimitri Payet, who is likely to feature in the derby clash at The Valley.