With our Hammers now appearing to have turned a big corner this season, I catch up with ExWHUEmployee to get the latest goings on at the Club.

Ex, so first I wanted to start on the injury and illness front, as it was apparent on Thursday night that we could possibly have a crisis on our hands. What can you tell us?

There has been a case of flu and cold going round the camp and with covid now the player has to go into isolation almost instantly when they have any symptoms to stop the spread.

I believe this affected a number of players on Thursday notably Antonio and Zouma. The manager has said that Antonio is feeling a bit better but Zouma has been put into isolation so again another late decision will be made on him and I would imagine the team selection too.

Although at this stage it isn’t known what the issue is with Zouma, so the isolation has been purely as a precaution.

Both Dawson and Ogbonna felt things during the game and neither were considered serious but they will face a late race to be available too. I believe Kehrer trained yesterday which is good but Cornet and Aguerd are still missing for the game on Sunday.

One big question mark hanging over the club this season is the future of Craig Dawson, who has been so good for us. Are we going to be able to sway him to sign a longer term deal?

Dawson was very keen to move on in the summer due to personal circumstances which I believe still remain. He has loved his time at the club and has described it as the best time of his career.

I know the club would like to keep him on but he is yet to commit either way.

Ex, a player who seems to continually impress when called upon is Flynn Downes with another man of the match display in midweek. Has he done enough to force himself a start in the Premier League?

Moyes has been quite harsh in the press on Downes I believe. Of course this a probable strategy of his to try and ease in a player who is new to the Premier League, but it doesn’t publicly recognise how good he has been in my opinion.

I am sure Moyes has been impressed by his performances because I don’t think anyone would have predicted he would have done this well, I genuinely believe he has been man of the match in all the games he has started and Moyes wouldn’t have had the career in management he has if he can’t also recognise these albeit privately!

So the news broke that Ricky Martin our Academy Manager is leaving the club this week. Can you provide an update on who will be taking the role when he departs?

I don’t know who will be the Academy Manager because the process hasn’t been completed or even started yet, but Ricky Martin is definitely leaving to go to Stoke City as technical director – as we revealed exclusively on Patreon, and therefore a replacement is needed.

Mark Noble has been identified as the main decision maker in who should be selected to replace the former Norwich City man. Things that I know the club are looking for in the candidate are: Experience, an understanding of the Academy audits and compliance processes, a track record of good working relationships with staff, players and families, evidence of successful player development and an understanding of the importance of the Academy in West Ham’s history. These are said to be key components to the appointment.

There are many potential candidates for this role. External options could be Peterborough’s highly rated academy manager Kieran Scarff or Ireland’s technical director John Morling formerly of Brighton as well as a whole host of other names but whether they are keen on the role remains to be seen.

Internally, we have some very obvious candidates. Kevin Keen has a wide range of experience as do Mark Robson and Steve Potts making them all very worthwhile suggestions but the man who I think has the perfect credentials for the job is Kenny Brown.

Kenny is currently the Head of Coaching at the club so knows the players, the staff and the systems very well. He has vast experience of working in senior leadership roles such as Academy manager at Dagenham & Redbridge and also Head of coaching/Assistant Academy Manager at Millwall. During this time he had obtained many qualifications. He is a Pro licence holder and has gained diplomas in Elite coaching and football leadership and management.

He is also a very popular member of staff with both the young players and his fellow employees. Of course Kenny himself has played for the club and is the son of a West Ham legend so knows the club inside out. He is currently an Ambassador for the Club on matchdays as well. His own son is a first year scholar at Arsenal FC and is said to be a very good prospect, so he will be able to emphasise with personal experience from a family of players perspective too.

Of course, I am sure Noble will make the correct appointment and whoever gets the position will have a very important and exciting job to take on.

Ex before you go, I have had many fans ask me about the next Pre-Match event. Will we be having one before the World Cup break?

There will be! It will before the Leicester City game on the 12th November and it’s a Saturday game. We will have Kevin Keen as our guest which should be incredibly interesting and the event will come with the obvious perks that come with every event.