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Big Mick brings smiles and laughter to this lunchtime's press conference

10 January 2019

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Town interim boss Mick Harford spoke of his pride at being in the Hatters hot-seat again as his side look ahead to Saturday's Sky Bet League One clash against his boyhood and former side, Sunderland.

Harford has agreed to take the job as the club begin their search for a permanent manager after Nathan Jones left for Stoke City.

Mick managed the Town between 2008-09, before returning in 2016 to become Chief Recruitment Officer.

Whilst there has been disappointment at the club with Jones leaving, Harford was keen to point out it's still very much an exciting time for the club, given the fact that Power Court has been recommended for approval, as well as the Town finding themselves in a strong position in the third tier.

Harford said: "It's an exciting time coming back in as interim manager. It's a privilege to be asked by Gary and the board to take the team. It's something I am looking forward to, something I am going to embrace and I am going to enjoy it."

Enjoy it he will, especially going to his boyhood club Sunderland on Saturday with around 3,000 Hatters backing the team in a crowd of over 30,000.

Mick brought laughter to the room when asked whether, for the fans, Nathan's departure was a bit like losing a girlfriend or boyfriend.

"It's not as bad as that," he joked, "I've lost a few girlfriends! Obviously we'll get over it and we'll face the challenge of appointing a new manager.

"I have got to be honest, I am totally privileged that Gary and the board have asked me to be involved in the process of trying to find a new manager, I am privileged to be in that position.

"It's positive. Ok, we have lost our manager, but it's an exciting time, the planning will hopefully go through at the end of the month, the team is on a high and can hopefully carry on winning."

His first game in charge comes this weekend, as Town head up to Sunderland, with one point between the two sides as they battle it out for a place in the automatic promotion spots.

Harford is relishing the game and the rest of the month, as he sees the next few weeks as an opportunity for the Town to really assert their authority in the division.

"It's a good month, we've got to play Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth and Peterborough," he continued. "If we want to be in a challenging position, if we want to 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 and that's where you want to be as a club.

"It's a unique situation, it doesn't happen very often where a manager leaves a team that's second in the league, 16 unbeaten. It's a good situation and it's an exciting time for the club, for a new manager to come in and take the club forward.

"The players have been fantastic, they're a great bunch. Obviously I was involved in the recruitment of them, so I know them all personally, I know what they're about, I know how they work.

"I come in most days, I come in to watch training, I come in to watch how they're performing, to see the intensity of the workout, which is excellent. It's a pleasure to watch them train, it's a pleasure to be around them.

"The players will be fine. There're some big characters, some real good characters in that dressing room and obviously there is a bit of uncertainty, but there are good people working at this club.

"Speak to Gary, speak to me, speak to the other people, they'll reassure you that everything is going to be alright and we're in a good place."

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