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Contrasting form for Harriers and Bulls in derby battle
9:20am Tuesday 24th December 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
KIDDERMINSTER Harriers and Hereford United approach their Boxing Day derby clash enduring contrasting fortunes in the Skrill Premier.
The sides meet at Aggborough (3pm) chasing victories for differing reasons at either end of non-league’s top-flight.
While Harriers are the much better placed of the two, Steve Burr’s side have dropped out of the play-off zone following three successive defeats.
Last Thursday’s 3-1 loss at Grimsby came hot on the heels of defeat to Alfreton Town by the same scoreline and a 1-0 reverse at Woking.
Hereford, by contrast, are 17th in the standings but gave themselves a huge shot in the arm with a 1-0 victory over leaders Cambridge United at Edgar Street last Saturday.
Michael Rankine’s strike ensured the Bulls inflicted only Cambridge’s second defeat of the campaign and moved themselves closer to the safety of mid-table.
It was also a much-needed boost to a club with well-documented financial troubles and currently trying to raise £35,000 before the turn of the year to pay wages.
Hereford will also arrive at Aggborough keen to produce a repeat of the last time they visited, winning 1-0 back on New Year’s Day with a penalty from Josh O’Keefe.
Manager Martin Foyle was pleased with his team’s return to form, having lost 1-0 at home to Nuneaton in their previous fixture, and believes they can match Kidderminster.
“There isn’t a lot of difference in the league,” the Hereford boss said.
“I had a good chat with Cambridge United manager Richard Money beforehand and he said they hadn’t really trounced anybody.
“Full credit to the front three, I thought they worked hard but overall it was a fantastic team performance.”
Burr will be looking for a response from his players, not least because Harriers have not kept a clean sheet in any competition since October 5.
He said of the Grimsby defeat: “We need that desire back into the lads to make sure we’re a lot more solid at the back. Overall it was a night where we conceded what were poor goals.”
Harriers will be without centre-half Josh Gowling, who serves a one-match ban for five bookings, but midfielder Callum Gittings and striker Amari Morgan-Smith return after missing the Blundell Park trip through suspension.
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