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6 September 2018

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Town boss Nathan Jones has said he won't be rushed into any decision for the appointment of a new assistant manager after the departure of Paul Hart, but expects Mick Harford to help out in the immediate term.

Hart departed the club on Wednesday with immediate effect – the Hatters releasing him from his contract in order to become technical director at Notts County.

Jones sees chief recruitment officer Harford as having a similar presence to what Hart had around the squad, so for this weekend at least the Hatters legend will be more involved with first team activity.

Jones said on the potential for Harford to take over as assistant manager: "That's an option. I won't say anything because this happened on Friday, which was deadline day, so I wasn't able to think about it. Saturday we were involved in the game, Sunday we're preparing for Tuesday, Monday even more so, Tuesday comes and you've got a game. I didn't have a moment to do anything yesterday, so it literally has been a whirlwind.

"I will sit down, I will speak to Mick anyway. Mick will be involved with us on the weekend. I want Mick around us because he is similar to Harty in terms of around the boys.

"So you never know, but I don't want to say anything yet because I haven't had one conversation yet, with my chief executive, potential candidates, with Mick or anyone. So to come out in the press, it would be totally wrong.

"I have an idea of what I want, but I won't make any kneejerk reaction.

"We haven't quite made our mind up yet. Harty was an important member of staff for me and he brought a certain way about him in the role. I brought him in for a certain role, so I have either got to replace that or go for a more quintessential, authentic assistant manager. It's difficult to say.

"Harty was a real personal one for me. He was great around the players in what he did, some assistant managers I haven't got as close as relationship as I did with Harty, so anybody I bring in will be more like a normal assistant manager.

"So we will see what we need, what we do. With every disappointment there's also an opportunity, so we might be able to do other things with the role, or get someone to do what Harty does."

The approach from the Magpies and Hart's decision came as a bit of a surprise to the gaffer, but he is hugely thankful for the work the 65-year-old ex-Nottingham Forest and Leeds United centre-back has done during his time with the Hatters.

"It was a surprise when he told me, but he's put everything into the role," Jones continued.

"He's done everything that I've asked of him and he has been a real constant support for me. He still lives in Nottingham, so that was a big thing, the travelling was hurting him. He's a proud man, he comes in everyday.

"I was quite prepared to reduce his days, but he's a proud man, he doesn't believe that that's what the role would've entailed. He was up at four in the morning and then having to go back, it could be 18 hour, 19 hour days, which you can't continue to do. It was difficult for him, so I understand his decision.

"It has obviously come as a little bit of a shock because I didn't want him to, and it wasn't anything that has been in the pipeline, it's come out of the blue. He goes with our best wishes because he's done a fantastic job, he's done exactly what I needed him to, so it's just a natural thing for him really.

"We wont rush to make an appointment, we've got good people here in terms of who I am able to fall back on. I am very close to Mick, who is very experienced in what he does. We are learning. I've got good people that work for me and alongside me, and a chief executive who I am close to. So it's not like we've suddenly been left in limbo.

"Being brutally honest, me and Joaquin did a majority of the coaching, that wasn't Harty's mandate. So the day-to-day stuff doesn't change too much, if I need advice or I need something then I just pick up the phone.

"So it's not a massive change, it's just a personal thing. His value was being here around the players, little words of wisdom and lifting them and gauging the atmosphere, so if we do go down that route, it's important that we maintain that as well."

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