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Fry fears repeat of FA Cup shock
6:00am Friday 3rd January 2014 in Harriers
BARRY Fry fears he could suffer an unwanted case of FA Cup deja vu when Harriers take on Peterborough in the FA Cup third round.
The bubbly former Birmingham boss suffered one of the biggest shocks in the history of the competition 20 years ago, when Graham Allner's impressive Conference side stunned the Blues at St Andrew's in the third round.
Fry, now director of football at The Posh, was barely a month in the City hot-seat and attempting in vain to prevent their relegation from the second tier of English football.
Despite their league form, Birmingham were huge favourites and made a good start when Paul Harding put them ahead.
But Neil Cartwright levelled for brilliant Harriers, before former Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Jon Purdie lashed home a brilliant effort in the 64th minute.
Harriers held firm and rode their luck, with Andy Saville hitting the post with a penalty and keeper Kevin Rose in inspired form.
But the Carpetmen won 2-1 and progressed to the fourth round, taking another Football League scalp by beating Preston North End 1-0.
Their extraordinary run was stopped at a packed Aggborough by West Ham United.
Harriers went onto win the league but were controversially not allowed into the Football League because of tightened fire safety rules.
"Once the draw was made, everyone was saying the game was a foregone conclusion and that we'd win comfortably," said Fry.
"I said at the time Graham Allner had a very good side and they duly turned up and beat us!
"To be fair we missed a penalty and hit the bar a few times and Harriers had a winger who scored a world beater.
"I had only been at Blues a month and we were struggling near the bottom and that result was nearly a nail in my coffin!
"Blues were bottom when I joined and we were relegated but to be fair, we won the double the following season and got promoted."
He added: "I genuinely don't think there will be much in it.
"Harriers are very good at home and I can't remember the last time we won away.
"But that's the magic of the FA Cup, it's unpredictable."
Fry admits he's an admirer of the good work of Harriers boss Steve Burr.
Peterborough have a proven track record signing players from the Conference, with former non-league players Lee Tomlin (Rushden and Diamonds) and Tyrone Barnet (Hednesford) key players for them now.
United manager Darren Ferguson has been spotted running the rule over gifted young winger Joe Lolley.
"Joe is a player that we have watched and like very much," said Fry, who signed one of Harriers' FA Cup heroes Richard Forsyth for an initial fee of £50,000 several years later.
"He's got a lot of raw ability and while he's still got to improve there's do doubt he can play at a higher level.
"He could be like Aaron McLean or Craig Mackail-Smith and go onto play in the Championship or Premier League."
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