EXCLUSIVE By Wayne Veysey

West Ham are set to fast-track Conor Coventry into the team after his efforts in training left a big impression on Manuel Pellegrini, Football Insider can reveal.

The central midfielder, 19, had been expected to be loaned out to a lower league side to continue his development this season.

But a West Ham source has told Football Insider that Coventry has done enough in first-team training sessions to convince Pellegrini he is ready to play for the senior side.

The Republic of Ireland youth international was included in the club’s first-team photograph this month and is now set to figure in the League Cup clash against Newport County next week.

Coventry has made one appearance for the Hammers senior side, which came as a substitute in last September’s 8-0 League Cup demolition of Macclesfield Town.

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The rising star can expect to make the squad on Tuesday night and will hope he can even be in the starting XI if, as expected, Pellegrini makes a number of changes to the side.

Coventry is a defensive midfielder who plays regularly for West Ham Under-23s and is following a similar path to first-team sensation Declan Rise.

Carlos Sanchez is the recognised senior alternative to Rice as the protector of the back four, but the teenager could come into the reckoning if he continues to impress the manager.

In other West Ham news, it can be REVEALED that the club have opened talks over a mammoth deal that could be worth up to £31million.