FA Cup glory trail offers Byrne road to redemption

EIGHT months ago Jack Byrne was worried about his Harriers future now he stands on the brink of gracing the pitch at Sunderland in the biggest game of his career.

The 24-year-old can be forgiven for pinching himself as Kidderminster take on the Premier League giants in tomorrow's FA Cup Fourth Round tie (3pm ko).

After two seasons blighted by suspension, illness and severe injury and his previous deal ending last May, Byrne was worried he may be cut loose by the club.

But the previous management team of Steve Burr and Gary Whild as well as chairman Mark Serrell backed up their faith in him by handing him a new deal.

It has taken the former Redditch dynamo time to fully recover from the Achilles injury which ruled him out for the 2012-13 season but he has slowly worked his way back into the team.

"I was out of contract and there some doubt in the back of my mind that I would be offered a new one," admitted Byrne.

“But fair play to the chairman and the previous manager they stood by me and gave me the confidence to keep pushing on.

“It has been tough getting back into the side and I can understand why it has taken so long.

“I need to familarise myself to playing football again on a regular basis and luckily enough that’s with the first team and not on loan somewhere else.”

Byrne  burst onto the scene as a hard running midfielder with an eye for a goal but he scored his most important in the Third Round replay at Peterborough's London Road home.

He added: “I can’t describe the feeling of it [scoring] and it will be something I will never forget.

“Hopefully I will get many more of those feelings.

“It was always nice to score but now I’ve got a great tie as a reward.”

Harriers boss Andy Thorn will asses a host of niggles ahead of tomorrow's clash.

Kidderminster are the lowest ranked side left in the competition and they are overwhelming under dogs against  a side four levels above them.

Kyle Storer is expected to be fit after sustaining a knock in Tuesday's loss to Dartford.

Callum Gittings is also hoping to be fit after being out for three weeks with hamstring and shoulder problems.

New signing Adrian Cieslewicz and Ryan Rowe, who recently returned from his loan at Stourbridge, are cup-tied.

Argentinian Santiago Aloi is available but Thorn is eager to ease in the 26-year-old.

Meanwhile, Black Cats boss Gus Poyet is set to make changes to his side after their League Cup heroics at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Sunderland saw off the Red Devils on penalties after pulsating 120 minutes.

Harriers were were set to travel up to Wearside today to ensure they will be fresh for the clash.

 The manager said: “Going to play at the Stadium of Light is a massive thing for us and we’re going to enjoy every minute of it.

“Everbody wants to improve themselves and it’s an opportunity to pit their wits against Premiership players.

“It was good to go and see Sunderland at Old Trafford.

“It was an entertaining game but whether all of their players will feature is a different thing. Hopefully they won’t all play!

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