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The Preview: Kidderminster Harriers v Blues

Posted: Fri 25 Jul 2014
Author: Andy Walker
Image by: Craig Aldwinckle

Blues head to Aggborough Stadium on Saturday (3pm kick-off) to face Kidderminster Harriers for the club's third pre-season fixture of 2014/15.

Lee Clark on how he intends to approach the fixture...
“We will obviously see how the games (against Kidderminster and Notts County on Tuesday) goes in terms of what we do with players and if they are getting towards producing 90 minutes - a fair few of them will, to be honest with you.

“That’s what I will be looking for. Saturday and Tuesday, they’re both huge for that. We will try and keep as many of them on the same amount of minutes before we get to Inverness (at St. Andrew's on Saturday 2 August, 3pm kick-off) when it’s about nailing down what could be my team.

"I have obviously got people from last season and I have got new signings but everyone has a clean slate. It’s a good word to use - auditions - and everyone has got to keep doing that, right until probably Tuesday in the week approaching Middlesbrough. That’s because they will have a day off Wednesday but myself and my staff will be in finalising the starting XI who we will work with on the training pitch Thursday and Friday."

Clark on the 2,000+ Bluenoses set to make the journey to Aggborough...
“I have said it before, something like that never ceases to amaze me with the fans. I don’t take it for granted, but that’s what I expect of them because their support has been that good. One of the reasons I’ve tried to keep some of the pre-season friendlies closer by, to where we are, is a thought process taking into account the fans, the costs of travelling etc.

“So this being more local to us and a good test, it gives the fans an opportunity to see the lads and some of the new players they might not have seen before. I’m not surprised by that support, but I am not taking it for granted, either.”

Clark on the Harriers of the Conference Premier...
“I obviously watched quite a bit of them last year and they are a team who has always been there or thereabouts at the top end of the Conference. They are trying to push to get into the Football League. They have obviously been doing their own shopping in the summer and we have got a good link with them.

“We have had players on loan there in the past and we would like to continue that relationship. The game gives me a chance to speak to their management team and talk about some of our younger players and I am looking forward to the game."

Team news....
Only the experienced duo of Paul Robinson and Jonathan Spector will miss out as both are rested as a precaution with knocks and niggles.

Clark elaborated: "We haven’t been able to get them (Robinson and Spector) back on the training pitch as yet. Certainly with Paul it is about keeping him right for the season, ten months, not the next ten days, which is something we’ve had a conversation about. His training programme was always going to be modified. He’s the oldest member of the squad, it’s about getting him out on the pitch as much as possible, it’s not about getting training ground minutes into Paul. He is aware of that and the medical team are, so we’re quite cool with that one.

“Jonathan cannot get rid of this niggle in his groin. He’s missed quite a bit of pre-season, which is crucial to him. We need to try and get him back as safely as possible as quickly as possible."

This fixture is strictly all-ticket for both sets of supporters and there will be no pay on the gate. For ticket details click HERE. For matchday queries please contact Helen Wilkins-Tims, consumer sales manager, via 0844 557 1448 between 9am on 3.15pm on Saturday (26 July) or via Twitter @BCFCTicketLady. Blues stewards will also be on hand during the day in the away end at Aggborough to assist further. For further useful matchday information courtesy of West Midlands Police, click HERE.

Please note...
That due to Kidderminster Harriers not being in possession of the relevant licence, alcohol is not on sale at Aggborough.

Traffic warning..
Road resurfacing work is taking place on the A456 Hagley Road from Birmingham to Kidderminster which will cause delays so supporters are recommended to set off early. To avoid potential delays, a route via Stourbridge or Bromsgrove is recommended or alternatively Kidderminster Train Station is a five minute walk from Aggborough.

Five facts about Kidderminster Harriers...
- Kidderminster finished seventh in the Conference Premier (non-league's top tier) last season, two places and five points adrift of the play-offs. It was a rollercoaster campaign for the Harriers as they reached the fourth round of the FA Cup (where they narrowly lost at Barclays Premier League Sunderland) but also sacked two managers - Steve Burr and Andy Thorn, the latter lasting just 56 days at the helm.

- Gary Whild is now the man in charge at Aggborough - he was the assistant to Burr when Harriers just failed to clinch the Conference crown on the final day of 2012/13.

- The Worcestershire club can boast two footballing firsts - Aggborough staged the first FA Cup game played under floodlights when Harriers took on Brierley Hill in a preliminary round replay in September 1955 and, in September 1999, they hosted the first senior match to be officiated by a trio of females for the Conference visit of Nuneaton Borough.

- The only time that Kidderminster and Blues have met in competitive action, Harriers ran out 2-1 winners in an FA Cup third-round tie at St. Andrew's in January 1994.

- One man in the home ranks who will be extra keen to impress this weekend is Reece Hales - the teenager who was released by Blues this summer after making just a solitary first-team appearance. He is currently trialling at Aggborough as he looks to earn a professional deal.

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