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Match preview Vs Peterborough Utd    FA Cup 3rd rd

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Date: 04-01-14gif Venue: Aggboroughgif Kick off: 15:00hrs

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The Harriers entered this stage of the FA cup by beating League 2 side Newport County, at the beginning of last month, by an emphatic 4-2 scoreline and putting them totally in their place.  Naturally, as any fan of a minnow club would, we were all hoping for a Big Catch in the third round and overnight thoughts turned various permutations of the mighty Harriers versus Manchester Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, West Brom or the Villa but as we all found out on Sunday afternoon it was Us v Peterborough Utd.

Joe Lolley No bad thing though and it's one that we knew that we could get a good result from.  There was only one problem and that didn't rear it's head until three days later when we went to Woking and lost.  Surely we'll beat village side Alfreton at home? No we lost and had Amari Morgan-Smith sent off into the bargain.

We knew we'd recover our form at Grimsby on the following Thursday evening but no we lost that one too.  When was it going to end?  We had Hereford on Boxing Day and surely that meant three certain points.

It did, in the first half, but by the end of the game we had almost thrown the points away as we allowed them to come back from two goals down.  Thankfully we held on to our slender lead and kept the points so it was now on to Luton and what was going to be a tight affair with the Harriers earning a repeat of our win there last season.  What went wrong?????

Now we need to find that form and inspiration that beat Newport, apply it to beat Peterborough and hopefully draw that big team that we had originally hoped for.

We'll have to do it without Chey Dunkley (rumoured to be a target of Peterborough) due to his sending off at Luton and then the postponement of our game at Hereford on New Years Day.  If that had gone ahead then Chey would be pulling on the red shirt tomorrow instead.

That loss of a days play has given Mickey Demetriou (rumoured to be a target of Peterborough) a bit longer to recover from a tweaked hamstring and hopefully he'll be back at left back after Danny Jackman (not rumoured to be a target of Peterborough) was so cruelly exposed by the Luton forwards.  Another one that has a question mark over him is Joe Lolley (definitely rumoured to be a target of Peterborough) who could be a victim of his own success and not be able to play any part in the game due to contractual issues.

Two that won't be playing are James Dance and Nathan Blissett.  Dance went out on loan to Rushall Olympic the other day while Big Bliss, who couldn't get a game for love or money, went to Hednesford on loan and has now scored three times in his two games there so far.  Meanwhile we have very little cover, or quality, on the bench and tomorrow we'll need seven seat there.

We have bought in a loanee from Burton though but he's a midfielder and we have plenty of them.  Jack Dyer is twenty two year old and started his career at the Villa but didn't make it there so he signed up with the brewers two seasons ago.  He may be on the bench and available to play.

We have only met up with Peterborough once before, barring a friendly a few years back, and that was also in the FA Cup.  It was back in 1965 that we travelled to London Road in the team charabanc for a first round game when we were a Southern League side and Boro were in the old Division Three.  We lost the game 2-1 but not before giving them a game to remember, but I don't seeing I was only a little 'un then.

At the moment Peterborough are in fifth place in League 1 but have been dropping off the pace lately, like us but without the embarrassing scorelines, and on NYD they lost at home 3-1 to leaders Brentford.  They also had a hefty Cup win in the previous round when they beat Tranmere 5-0 to hopefully set themselves up with a tie against Manchester Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, West Brom or the Villa but like us it was just a dream and they got some non league fodder instead.

The manager there, Darren Ferguson, is a regular at Aggborough and he's already reserved his usual seat for the game.  It's a foregone conclusion that he won't be sizing our players up this time even though he's going to have to bring some new faces in soon seeing as seemingly half his squad have left in the past few days or will be in the next.  Gabriel Zakuani, he played for Orient against us a long time ago, left for warmer shores yesterday to do a Shirley Valentine in Greece.  Eighteen year old Jaanai Gordon left to join West Ham on New Years Day for what could be a hefty, un-disclosed fee while Tyrone Barnett, Kane Ferdinand and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing have all been told they can find new clubs.

They have long term injuries to Dan Kearns, Craig Alcock and Tommy Rowe so they'll be without them too.

One player for them will be instantly recognisable to most Harriers fans from our days playing Rushden.  Lee Tomlin, he of WUM fame, signed for them the season before the Diamonds hit the dirt and it'll be interesting to see if his nasty attitude has changed much, if at all.  Another known face at London Road is Nathaniel Knight-Percival who was once supposed to be a Steve Burr target before leaving Histon for Wrexham where he formed a decent partnership with Mark Creighton.  He went on to better things while, sadly, Creights career ended in sadness through a bad injury.

So what's going to happen tomorrow then?  It's going to be a tough game for a team lacking in confidence lately so it's down to Steve Burr to get them up and at it once again but surely the chance to beat Boro and then get a better draw in the next round should be all the impetus they would need.

Photo © KHFC


Teams:

Harriers from:
Lewis, N Vaughan, L Vaughan, Grimes, Dunkley, Demetriou, Gowling, Dyer, Tolley, Storer, Fowler, Jackman, Lolley, Angus, Byrne, Johnson, Malbon, Morgan-Smith, Gittings, Gash.

Peterborough from:
Olejnik, Day, Ntlhe, Brisley, Bostwick, Swanson, Payne, Grant, Assombalonga, Tomlin, McCann, Vassell, Barnett, Ferdinand, Anderson, Newell, Mendez-Laing, Knight-Percival, Ephraim, Barnett, Coulson, Little, Conlon, Ajose, Marshall, Jeffers.

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