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Feb 5, 2022 at 12.30pm UK
KidderminsterKidderminster Harriers
West HamWest Ham United
Penny (19')
Cameron (71')
Rice (90+1'), Bowen (120+1')

Preview: Kidderminster Harriers vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Kidderminster Harriers vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's FA Cup clash between Kidderminster Harriers and West Ham United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Kidderminster Harriers will be flying the flag for non-league football on Saturday lunchtime when they welcome Premier League outfit West Ham United to the Aggborough Stadium for their fourth-round tie in the FA Cup.

The lowest-ranked team left in the competition currently sit third in the National League North table, 112 places below the Hammers who occupy fifth in the top flight.

Match preview

Kidderminster's fairy-tale FA Cup story continues after they caused one of the biggest upsets in the third round by beating Championship side Reading 2-1 on home soil last month.

The Royals managed to break the deadlock on the stroke of half time through George Puscas; however, the Harriers came out fighting after the break and held their own against a team four divisions above them.

A goalkeeping error from Rafael Cabral handed Sam Austin a 69th-minute equaliser before a goal-line scramble in the 82nd minute resulted in Amari Morgan-Smith netting from close range. Kidderminster then had to see out 12 excruciating minutes of injury time, but they managed to hold on for a historic victory in front of their home supporters.

After starting their FA Cup journey in the second-qualifying round, the Harriers have now beaten six teams to get to this stage – Sporting Khalsa, Ware, Bedfont Sports, Grimsby Town, Halifax Town and Reading – but their biggest test yet will be on Saturday.

Kidderminster are one of nine non-league teams in FA Cup history who have reached the fifth round of the competition since the end of the Second World War. The Harriers competed at this stage back in 1994 when they were eliminated by none other than West Ham, who claimed a slender 1-0 win at the Aggborough Stadium.

This weekend, the two sides will lock horns in the fourth round, and although the Harriers have won five and drawn one of their last six FA Cup ties on home soil, a run which dates back to 2013, head coach Russell Penn will be aware that their dreams of another giant-killing will be slim against Premier League opposition.

After a run of four successive wins, including a 2-0 success at home against Leeds United in the FA Cup third round, West Ham have since suffered back-to-back league defeats against the Whites and Manchester United.

The Hammers were on course to claim a hard-fought point at Old Trafford before Marcus Rashford came off the bench to net a 93rd-minute winner for the hosts, condemning David Moyes's men to their eighth league defeat of the season heading into the winter break.

West Ham have now slipped out of the top four, with the Red Devils moving above them by one point and with a game in hand. Nevertheless, Moyes and co will be confident of regaining their form and returning to winning ways on Saturday.

The Hammers head to the Aggborough Stadium having progressed from their last 10 FA Cup ties against non-league opposition since being eliminated by Swindon Town back in 1911-12, when they were also a non-league side.

One statistic which will provide hope for Kidderminster is that West Ham have lost three of their last four fourth-round ties in the competition, all of which were against lower-league opponents, though they did beat Doncaster Rovers at this stage last season.

While Moyes is sure to prioritise West Ham's challenge for the top four and reaching the latter stages of the Europa League, an FA Cup run would also be welcomed by the three-time winners as they bid to lift the trophy for the first time since 1979-80.

Kidderminster Harriers FA Cup form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Kidderminster Harriers form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

West Ham United FA Cup form:
  • W

West Ham United form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Team News

Kidderminster will need to assess Ethan Freemantle's hamstring problem before kickoff, but otherwise, Penn is expected to name his strongest possible starting lineup on Saturday.

Nathan Cameron scored in the midweek win over Leamington on his return to the first XI, and the centre-back is expected to start again alongside Geraldo Bajrami.

Experienced winger Ashley Hemmings, who is the club's top scorer this term with 11 strikes to his name, is set to start alongside Sam Austin and Omari Sterling-James in advanced roles in behind central striker Amari Morgan-Smith.

As for West Ham, Angelo Ogbonna remains sidelined with an ACL injury, while first-choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is doubtful with a hip injury, so Alphonso Areola is expected to start between the sticks.

Michail Antonio is a major doubt after Moyes revealed to the press that the striker return to London at 11am on Friday morning, just over 24 hours before kickoff, following a spell away on international duty with Jamaica.

The Scotsman is expected to make several changes from the side which lost to Man United, with the likes of Pablo Fornals, Declan Rice and Kurt Zouma all set to be rested or to begin on the substitutes' bench; however, Jarrod Bowen could remain in the first XI and lead the line if Antonio is not selected.

Algerian winger Said Benrahma will be in contention to feature after returning from Africa Cup of Nations duty, but it remains to be seen whether Andriy Yarmolenko will feature after the 31-year-old was charged by the FA with alleged misconduct in relation to an appearance in a Ukrainian betting advert.

Club captain Mark Noble, Alex Kral, Issa Diop, Ben Johnson and Ryan Fredericks are all expected to start, while youngsters Sonny Perkins and Ajibola Alese could be named in the matchday squad.

Kidderminster Harriers possible starting lineup:
Simpson; Penny, Cameron, Bajrami, Richards; Martin, Carrington; Hemmings, Austin, Sterling-James; Morgan-Smith

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Areola; Fredericks, Diop, Dawson, Johnson; Kral, Noble; Benrahma, Vlasic, Masuaku; Bowen

We say: Kidderminster Harriers 0-4 West Ham United

While many Kidderminster fans and football neutrals will be rooting for another FA Cup upset on Saturday, West Ham are understandably the strong favourites for this David vs. Goliath clash.

Even though Moyes is expected to rotate his starting lineup, the Hammers should have plenty of strength in depth to win comfortably and book their place in the fifth round.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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