West Ham defender Stephen Hendrie eyeing Europa League progression

The defender is also adamant that the busy pre-season schedule is a good thing for the side.

West Ham defender Stephen Hendrie has told the club’s official website that they face a tough game against Astra in the Europa League.

The Hammers have had a mixed progression in the tournament so far, having got through the first round with relative ease but then needing a penalty shoot out to see off FC Birkirkara in the second round.

They now take on the Romanians in the third round, with a win there seeing them through to the group stages and Hendrie says they are another good opposition for the side to take on.

"It's another good opponent to play against next. I've heard a lot about them and they're a good team,” he told whufc.com.

"Hopefully we can turn them over and get through to the next round, but we know it will be a hard game. It was a nervy time during the penalties but they boys' penalties were great and I'm happy we're through. That's the main thing.”

Busy pre-season good for fitness

The Hammers have had a busy pre-season so far, with their four Europa League ties to date having seem them start the season much earlier than their Premier League competitors.

Those games have come in between normal pre-season fixtures against the likes of Peterborough and Southend, with Charlton their next opponents on Saturday.

Such a busy schedule has seen manager Slaven Bilic have to use his squad to his best abilities and Hendrie says he is eyeing more game time but insists the number of games is only helping the squad to get fitter quicker ahead of the new season.

"The schedule has been busy with a lot of games," he added.

"Hopefully I can get a bit of game time, but it's good because it gets you fitter quicker and ready for the start of the season. We had Peterborough and Southend, now it's Charlton so it's good to constantly step up like that. It's good progress so far."

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