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Serrell tells rags to riches tale

Kidderminster were on the brink of going bust three years ago but the FA Cup minnows will be celebrating a windfall of almost B£300,000 when they take on Sunderland.

The Harriers, sixth in the Skrill Premier, are the lowest-ranked side left in the competition and were rewarded for beating Peterborough after a replay in round three with a glamour trip to face Gus Poyet's Barclays Premier League side.

They hope to take nearly 5,000 fans to the Stadium of Light for a money-spinning fourth-round tie that will secure the future of the club for the next couple of seasons.

It is all a far cry from when chairman Mark Serrell rescued the cash-strapped outfit in 2011.

"When I got involved in the club it was in dire financial straits - we were a few hours from going into administration," said Serrell.

"So this cup run has been good for the whole club. We've sold just under 4,000 tickets and hopefully we'll sell the rest and the whole town will be empty.

"In terms of prize money we have already made about B£125,000, with TV probably another B£50,000. On Saturday I believe a crowd of 30,000 would generate about B£250,000 and we would get just under half of that.

"But we have to spend it wisely. We have had to work hard to reduce costs, it's been a bit of a rollercoaster three years. So the funds will be used in the right way.

"Some money will be made available to the manager Andy Thorn for players, but we have to keep the club sustainable.

"The good thing is we do not have any old debts; we don't have to pay the gas bill from three years ago, so the money can be invested for the future."

Kidderminster's cup heroics have brought back memories of 20 years ago when they beat Birmingham and Preston before bowing out 1-0 at home to West Ham in the fifth round.

Sadly, it has not captured the imagination of the television companies, with ITV opting to show Chelsea's home game against Stoke on Sunday afternoon.

"Ultimately that decision is out of our hands," added Serrell.

"But I was brought up on the FA Cup and the giant-killings - Hereford beating Newcastle, York against Arsenal. I really wish that was an opportunity that we had but we didn't make that decision.

"But the magic of the Cup is that we have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and our future as a club is secure for the next 18 months."

Sunderland are aiming for their second cup success of the week after reaching the Capital One Cup final in midweek at the expense of Manchester United.

They are now planning for a Wembley showdown against Manchester City but in the short term, Poyet's task is to put together a team - he will make wholesale changes but stop short of fielding an entirely different XI - which will have to negotiate the switch from midweek underdogs to overwhelming weekend favourites.

Poyet said: "We have to make sure, us as a staff, that we put the players in there realising what can happen and make sure that it doesn't.

"'I am sure they [Kidderminster] are going to be a threat, I can tell you that, and I am sure they are going to make it very difficult for us to break them down.''

Argentina internationals Oscar Ustari and Santiago Vergini will make their debuts after signing earlier this week and being unused substitutes at Old Trafford.

Poyet will have one eye on a crucial Barclays Premier League fixture against Stoke on Wednesday night, but while he has several players recovering from their midweek exertions, only defender Carlos Cuellar (hip) and keeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder surgery) are out.


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