New Hatters assistant boss Paul Hart believes Town chief Nathan Jones has all the attributes to make a success of his career in management.
The pair were reunited recently at Kenilworth Road, with Hart named as number two, after they worked together at Charlton Athletic, when Jones was in charge of the U21s, with Hart Academy Director.
“The minute I met him, I knew he was right and knew he was ambitious and well prepared.”Paul Hart
Jones’ coaching methods have already earned rave reviews from Town’s players, and for Hart, that is a vital component for any manager these days.
He said: “Management and coaching is how I consider a manager to be too.
“I think a manager should be a coach and he’s got a great staff around him now to enable him to do both.
“He’s pretty sound tactically and the way we worked things at Charlton was based on structures and development of strategies, he’s good on that.”
It was no surprise to Hart that Jones, who has also been assistant boss at Yeovil and first team coach with Brighton, has opted to become his own man now.
He continued: “He intimated to me pretty early on that he would like to take that step.
“I brought him in to Charlton Athletic as U21 coach and from his interview, the minute I met him, I knew he was right and knew he was ambitious and well prepared.
“He fits my view on how people should be and having spent a year with us, he didn’t miss a point and was very impressive.
“He’s served his apprenticeship at Yeovil and at Charlton, and he picked the right time to step in.
“He went to work with the first team at Brighton and cut his teeth as he had a bit of caretaker job there too.”
Jones has spoken of his new assistant being something of a mentor to him throughout his coaching career, but Hart didn’t think it would be at all strange now working for the his protégé.
He continued: “When he worked for me, I headed up a youth development programme and the U21s was based on a structure, the way we coached, the way we developed, the systems that we played.
“But I didn’t spend too much time managing him, he didn’t need much managing, because he’s totally driven.”
Hart has plenty of experience himself to call on, as the 63-year-old has managed the likes of Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth, QPR and Barnsley, during his career.
He also made more than 550 appearance when a player at Leeds United and Blackpool amongst others, and on what attracted him to Luton, plus what his role will be, he said: “To offer things that may help, it might be the smallest thing and to be a sounding board for anything that he wants to do and be a major support along with the rest of the staff in moving us forward.
“I tell it as it is, I’m honest, and I hope that’s what he sees in me.
“I’ve got a great ability to know where I stand in the pecking order, I’m perfectly placed in any role, as I’m there to work and support the manager.
“It’s a great honour for me to be working alongside him and to be asked to come to Luton as I’ve been aware of Luton for a long time.
“I played against them many times throughout my career and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Hart had been Academy Director and U21s manager at Leeds United recently, so stepping up to work with the first team will be a welcome change, as he said: “I love working with kids and been reasonably successful in that role, but it’s massively hard work and that’s not saying this isn’t by any means.
“It’s a level up but players that you’re working with have certain advanced knowledge so it becomes a little bit easier.
“But my job can cut across a lot of things.
“I’ve got many years working in youth development and if I can help in any way to push forward in that respect, because what greater place to be as a young person to know that there’s a pathway to the first team.
“There very definitely will be for the young boys that want it here.”
There were plenty of friendly faces for Hart when he made the switch too, as he added: “I’ve worked with Alan Sheehan and Scotty (Scott Cuthbert), and Paddy (McCourt) in the past, but I’ll soon get to know them.
“Andy (Awford) was around, but wasn’t working for Portsmouth when I was there, although I know Mick Harford well.
“I took Mick in to be my assistant at QPR, and have known him for many, many years. I played against him, he helped to rearrange my face as well. I wasn’t born looking like this, Mick Harford in his ilk sorted me out!”