Interviews ongoing but no rush to appoint Town’s next U18s boss

Andy Awford watches on against Hitchin
Andy Awford watches on against Hitchin
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Hatters youth academy and development manager Andy Awford is happy to take his time in appointing a new U18s boss at the club.

The position became vacant when Paul Driver left at the end of last season, after six successful years with Luton, leading the youngsters to the FA Youth Cup sixth round in 2016.

It’s vital that we get the right one and if we have to wait a little bit longer, we wait a little bit longer.

Andy Awford

On finding his replacement, Awford won’t do anything without getting the all clear from first team manager Nathan Jones, as he said: “Paul’s moved on and we’re well on the way now.

“We’ve done our process, done a first round of interviews, due to do some second interviews later this week and then then first team go away, so I wouldn’t want to do anything without the input of the manager.

“Hopefully we can get some interviews done by the end of this week and then maybe finish that off when the first team are back from Slovenia.

“We’ll probably look to appoint come the end of July hopefully, but I’ll stress, we won’t just appoint someone for appointing sake.

“It’s vital that we get the right one and if we have to wait a little bit longer, we wait a little bit longer.

Awford, who himself managed Portsmouth earlier in his career, is currently taking the U18s and is happy to do so for the short term, as he continued: “I’ve said, I’ll take them until we get somebody.

“Me and Jordan McCann our head of academy head of coaching, we’re taking our U18s group at the moment for daily training, which is great.

“I’ve actually enjoyed going back to it, I haven’t done it for a little while, had a team as such.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the boys and they’ve certainly given it their all. We’ll get it done as soon as we can, but we certainly won’t rush it, we’ll make sure if we have to wait and be patient, we will be.”

It was a view echoed by chief executive Gary Sweet too, as he said: “He’s a top guy Drives, but Paul managed one age group, Andy Awford runs the academy.

“Andy is doing a great job, Andy keeps it all together, there’s a lot to do, it’s a busy department and he’s got a lot more staff than Nathan (Jones), so it’s a big job.

“Replacing one person isn’t a disaster, despite how great Drives was.

“It’s an opportunity for us to recruit, so we’ll get the right guy. We’ll wait for the right guy if needed, but we’ll get the right guy.”

With Town’s younger age groups impressing once more during their summer tours abroad, a delighted Sweet knows how important they are to the future of the club.

He added: “They’re not going to appear for years on the horizon of the first team, but that’s where JJ (James Justin) came from, that’s where Akin (Famewo) came from, that’s where Frankie (Musonda) came from, and they’re in the first team squad now.

“We’ve got to look that far ahead that the kids who are winning those cups and trophies now, could well be a part of the first team set up in eight or nine years time.”