On the grand scheme of things, this is the ultimate definition of little versus large this weekend. While Sunderland may have been regarded as strugglers throughout this campaign, even they must be tipped as favourites as they prepare to host a Kidderminster side who are languishing in the Conference.
Nevertheless, Sunderland fans must be hugely optimistic about the final months of their campaign. They may have been fixed in the bottom three for large portions of the season, but there’s no doubt that Gus Poyet has made a sterling impact on the Black Cats and that was highlighted again on Wednesday evening. They managed to dump Manchester United out of the League Cup and proceed to the final – where Manchester City awaits. In terms of their league performance, they now only find themselves a point away from safety and such a statistic would have been unheard of several months ago. As one would expect, all of these successes are courtesy of recent form and having now put together a run which has seen them lose just one of their last eleven games, it’s really not surprising to see some completely dispel the belief that Poyet’s side will be in the midst of a relegation dogfight by the end of the season.
Kidderminster understandably arrive at this clash with something of a low-profile, even if the press have been circling around the area looking to drum up the fixture. It’s actually been a very successful season for the Harriers and it’s only goal difference that separates them from the Conference playoff places. However, unlike their opponents, their form over recent weeks has been a little suspect. They’ve lost two of their last five and while that may not sound too severe, the fact that one of those defeats came in 6-0 fashion at Luton highlights that it’s not been a completely stable campaign. Still, they knocked Peterborough out of the last round in a replay and in a bid to create the perfect FA Cup story, a lot of neutrals will be hoping for a similar upset this time around.
Sunderland have been busy in the transfer market this month and two of their recent recruits look set for a start this weekend, with Oscar Ustari and Santiago Vergini the men in question. However, it’s not all positive for the Black Cats, with Carlos Cuellar and Keiren Westwood still out on the sidelines. Kidderminster meanwhile won’t be able to rely on one of their new signings, with Adrian Cieslewicz ineligible. Elsewhere, Joe Lolley has recently departed to join Huddersfield, while Callum Gittings is injured.
While it would be nice to picture an FA Cup upset, we just think Sunderland will be too strong for their opponents this time around. Poyet’s side have been in superb form over the last few months and while Kidderminster may give it a good go, our prediction is a 4-1 win for the Black Cats.