Harford 'privileged' to lead the Hatters at his boyhood Mackems

Hatters legend Mick Harford described it as a '˜privilege' to be asked to take the club on a temporary basis after being named interim manager this week.

Friday, 11th January 2019, 9:06 am
Updated Friday, 11th January 2019, 9:18 am
Hatters interim manager Mick Harford
Hatters interim manager Mick Harford

The former striker, who scored 92 goals in 217 games during two spells with the club in the 1980's and 1990's, will lead the side out at his boyhood team Sunderland tomorrow, after previous boss Nathan Jones left for Stoke in the week.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Harford said: "It’s an exciting time for me to come back and be the interim manager.

"It’s a privilege to be asked by Gary and the board to take the team, so it’s something I’m looking forward to, something I’m going to embrace, and I’m going to enjoy it.

“It’s all positive, exciting times. We’ve lost our manager, but it’s an exciting time.

"As Gary (Sweet) said, the planning will hopefully go through at the end of the month, get the two of them through, the teams' on a high and hopefully we’ll carry on winning.

"It’s a good month, we’ve got to play Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth, Peterborough and if we want to be in a challenging position and be top of the table, we have to play these teams and we have to beat them to get to the top of the table.

"That’s as a club where we want to be.”

Harford is no rookie to the role either, has he took charge back in January 2008, staying when the club were deducted 30 points, as although they were relegated to the Conference, he won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, beating Scunthorpe United at Wembley.

It's a time that clearly still rankles with Harford too, as he continued: “It’s what I call the dark days of the 30 points and the relegation when I was involved.

"I still feel partly responsible, it’s a burden on me, and if I can repay this in anyway, it would be great.”

This time round, Harford takes over a club absolutely flying, sitting second in League One and on a long unbeaten run, with an FA Cup third round replay against Sheffield Wednesday to look forward to as well.

He continued: “It’s a unique situation really.

"This doesn’t happen very often when managers leave a team that’s lying second in the league, 15 unbeaten, so it’s a good situation and an exciting time for the club.

"We're looking for a new manager, trying to bring someone in and take the club forward,

"We were disappointed that he (Jones) left the club, but when he first came into the club, I built up a great relationship with him, we became good friends.

"I’m disappointed he left, but Luton Town at the time were a very, very good fit for Nathan Jones and the style of play that Luton play, the way that the fans demanded, the way that the club demand that the team play, Nathan coming into Luton was a real good fit.

"We’ll always follow that this in trying to play that style of football.”

It's a big day for Harford too, as not only is he leading the club he played for the most during his career, but he comes up against the team he has followed his entire life.

He added: "It’s as we know an emotional game for me.

"It’s my boyhood club, I’ve supported them all my life and I still do, I’m from Sunderland, born and bred, they’re my team.

"It’s going to be a good day, a day I’m going to enjoy and hopefully there’s only one winner that comes out of it, on this day I want to Sunderland to lose.