Express & Star

Kidderminster Harriers hope to be on the fairway to heaven in FA Cup

Kidderminster Harriers will be hoping to swing their way into the FA Cup second round as they host Fleetwood Town on Sunday.


Following a 3-1 defeat to National League-leaders Chesterfield last Saturday, Russell Penn’s side took a trip to the driving range midweek as they hope to tee up a Cup upset against the Cods travelling down from the Fylde coast – home to some of England’s most prestigious golf courses.

Harriers assistant manager Jimmy O’Connor hopes this can pay off in the FA Cup this weekend, emphasising the importance of team bonding.

He said: “It’s a massive part of the game. We’re very intense about how we work, we’re a full-time professional football club.

“We try to get that balance but sometimes it’s taken away by games being Saturday-Tuesday.

“It’s been a hectic period, but it’s one of the first chances we’ve had in a couple of months to have one of those days. You get the benefits of it. It’s just good to see everybody let their hair down and enjoy a different environment and still be together.

“We had a good few hours there. It was good to see the players with their shackles off and hopefully it can build bonds in the team.”

Boss Penn praised his side after the defeat to Chesterfield last weekend which O’Connor thinks will serve them well against Fleetwood.

“It’s probably the best preparation we could’ve had from a league game going into this Fleetwood tie,” said O’Connor.

Adding: “Now the pressure is off, we have to enjoy that. That’s one thing we learned from two or three years ago with the Cup run that we enjoyed the occasions.

“Every game where we were underdogs, we thrived on it. It doesn’t mean we were there to just enjoy the day out, we still want to win the game, but you have to enjoy having the pressure on the opposition and we want to make that count.”

After failing to reach the first round last season, Harriers will look to replicate their Cup run from two years ago when they reached the fourth round – being eventually knocked out by West Ham United.

O’Connor hopes Sunday will be another day to remember saying: “We’ve had really good days at Aggborough in the FA Cup over the last three or four years and hopefully Sunday will be another one of them.

“It’s a great test which shows where we are, it’s a break from the league as well which has been really intense. If we set about the task in the right way, start well and do the things we’re good at, I think we can make it a difficult day for them.”

Elsewhere, Rushall Olympic entertain Southport FC in the National League North tomorrow looking to extend their unbeaten run to four league games.

Stafford Rangers have no game in the Northern Premier League this weekend with their proposed fixture against Whitby Town postponed due to their involvement in the FA Cup.

However, the club will be hosting a question and answer session at the Stan Robinson Stadium between manager Matt Hill, director of football Andy Fearn and the Rangers faithful, following an underwhelming start to the season.

In the Southern Central Premier, Stourbridge entertain St Ives Town while fourth-placed Halesowen Town host Hitchin Town of one place and three points above them. Both sides have only lost one of their last five league games.

In the Northern One West, Hednesford Town visit Avro while Chasetown welcome Stalybridge Celtic. The Pitmen this week saw Desean Martin commit to stay at Keys Park after an approach from a former club and Tom Armitage return to the club under new boss Harry Harris.

Meanwhile, in the Northern One Midlands, Sporting Khalsa entertain Corby Town while Walsall Wood travel to Coleshill Town and Lye Town visit Loughborough Dynamo.