By Danny Wright

West Ham striker Ashley Fletcher has been dropped to the West Ham under-23s side that faces Brighton on Monday.

The Daily Mail reported that Leeds were close to signing the striker in January, but West Ham would not sanction his departure after they failed to sign a forward of their own.

Fletcher, 21, has had a good amount of first team action this season for Slaven Bilic, but he hasn’t featured on the pitch since the 4-0 loss to Manchester City at the start of February and the club have confirmed on their official Twitter page that he has been demoted to the reserves.

Fletcher had made into the West Ham match day squad for every league game this season except the opening day of the season when they lost 2-1 to Chelsea.

However Bilic axed the goal-shy striker, who has just scored one goal in 17 first-team appearances in all competitions, all together for the 1-1 draw with Watford on Sunday.

The former Manchester United and Bolton academy prospect has done a lot better for the under-23 side though, which maybe proves that the Premier League is one step too far for him at this early stage of his career.

Fletcher has scored three goals in seven Premier League 2 matches with his last goal coming against Norwich under-23s in early January.

The West Ham under-23 side are currently fifth in Group 2 and sit just inside the play-off places with 28 points from 18 matches.

They are three points clear of Blackburn’s development side who are just outside the play-off spots.

In other Leeds news, cricket legend Michael Vaughan makes a prediction about the club after their derby win over Sheffield Wednesday.

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