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Leagues apart

Filed: Tuesday, 12th June 2012
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United's Development Squad will take part in the Professional Development League next season.

The PDL is being introduced for the 2012/13 season to replace the Premier Reserve League in which the club last featured in 2010/11.

The new format will be prodimently aimed at under 21 players, although each team is expected to be allowed to feature up to four over-age players.

West Ham's Development Squad manager Ian Hendon told whufc.com: "The Professional Development League is a reserve league, as such, but under a different title.

"Initially, I think it will be regionalised up until Christmas. Then, if you are in the top two you go into another group for after Christmas. The higher you finish in the regional league, the stronger the opposition you will be playing later in the season.

"It's important we do well in that. It will add some structure and competition to our season, rather than us going here, there and everywhere playing friendlies."

The Premier Reserve League, which the Professional Development League replaces, initially began in the 1999-2000 season. West Ham's best finish in the competition came in the 2007/08 season when they finished runners-up to Aston Villa.

WHUFC in the Premier Reserve League (South): last ten years

2010/11: 4th (of 6)
2009/10: 6th (of 9)
2008/09: 5th (of 9)
2007/08: 2nd (of 10)
2006/07: 7th (of 10)
2005/06: 10th (of 14)
2004/05: 11th (of 15)
2003/04: 4th (of 15)
2002/03: 5th (of 14)

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