The lowest-ranked side left in this year’s FA Cup, Kidderminster Harriers, host Championship strugglers Reading at the Aggborough Stadium in the third round on Saturday afternoon.
Kiddy are currently fifth in the National League North, 78 places below Reading who are 21st in the Championship.
Due to multiple fixtures being postponed, this will be Kidderminster’s first game since December 18 when they lost 4-1 to Boston United in the FA Trophy.
However, that could give a false impression of Kiddy’s campaign to date; an eight-match winning run came to an end earlier in December and they have won their last five successive matches on home turf – with clean sheets in their last four.
Russell Penn’s team are playoff contenders in the National League North and have both the second-best attack and second-best defence in the division in 2021-22.
The Worcestershire side entered this season’s FA Cup in the second qualifying round in September and have beaten Sporting Khalsa, Ware, Bedfont Sports, Grimsby Town and Halifax Town to get to this stage.
This is Kidderminster’s first appearance in round three since 2014, which was also the last time that they reached the fourth round.
It has been a season of woe for Reading, with a transfer embargo, injury crisis and six-point deduction all inflicted on the Royals; the last thing that they need is to be on the wrong end of a cup upset.
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Veljko Paunovic’s side have won just two of their last 11 matches, have not kept a clean sheet since mid-October and sit only three points above the relegation zone in the Championship.
On Monday, they drew 2-2 at home against Derby County, despite leading 2-0 up until the 86th minute through a Junior Hoilett double.
The Royals, who reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1927 and 2015, have been knocked out in the third round in two of the last three seasons