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Mick Harford back in the dugout on Sunday...with Alan Sheehan alongside him!

Mick makes his return, with former skipper Sheez rejoining the Hatters as first-team coach

7 January 2022

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We are proud to announce the return to the Luton Town dugout of both assistant-manager Mick Harford and former captain Alan Sheehan ahead of Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup third round tie with Harrogate Town.

Mick is back working full-time at The Brache once more as manager Nathan Jones’ right-hand man, after completing his course of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer before Christmas.

And we are delighted to welcome Alan back to the Club after a little under two years away, with the 35-year-old rejoining the Hatters as first-team coach having announced his retirement from his player-coach role at Oldham Athletic.

The last time both Mick and Alan were together at Kenilworth Road was when they famously lifted the Sky Bet League One championship trophy in 2019 – and this Sunday they will walk across the pitch once more to stand alongside Nathan and his staff in the home technical area.

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“We are delighted to have Mick back,” said Nathan. “He is a massive part of the culture and the environment here. Mick and I always spoke about his return, when it would be and it had to be when he felt right.

“Having done a few days and kept his hand in, he’s just felt really comfortable and he really feels that now is the right time. It’s great to have him back and he’s had an instant impact this week. Everyone is delighted, obviously and it’s a big thing to have him back at the helm with us.

“The fans have been wonderful and sung his name at every game he’s been absent this season, so I know they’ll be excited and get right behind Mick and the team. It’ll be great to have him back in and around on a matchday and I know he’ll get the ovation he thoroughly deserves on Sunday.”

Mick added: “I’m just pleased to be back in at The Brache full-time. I still have to carry on with my appointments at the hospital, but it’s great to come back into such a positive, bubbly environment. It makes me feel a lot better, and I feel really positive about moving forward.

“Sunday is the third round of the FA Cup, which is big in my heart, so obviously I’m looking forward to the challenge as we move into a busy second half of the season. It takes your mind off things and you can get stuck into your work here. I can just be focussed on the football.

“The support I’ve had from supporters, the club, the board, Gary, the management, staff and players has been unbelievable, and really helped me through. Everyone has been really supportive towards me and I can’t thank them enough.”

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Sheehan was Nathan’s first signing as Town boss, joining initially on loan from Bradford City in January 2016, before the move was made permanent that summer. His capture was key in the manager’s desire to change the team’s style of play, and the Irishman would go onto make 135 appearances while captaining the side to back-to-back promotions.

He left the Hatters on transfer deadline day in January 2019 and had a brief spell playing for Lincoln City before gaining first team coaching experience at Northampton Town and Oldham.

“We are delighted to welcome Sheez back,” said Nathan. “It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and it’s something we like here, with the continuity.

“We’ve brought him in because we believe he’s a good coach and he’ll get even better. He’s hungry and wants to learn, and the most important thing is that he knows us, he knows our environment, he’s earned the opportunity by being a wonderful player for us, a fantastic captain and also a fantastic human being, and we believe that with further learning – because he’s had about a year of being a first team coach – he can be a fantastic asset to us.

“We don’t ever make these decisions lightly. We always do real homework. We don’t ever do this on sentiment, but we felt it was the right time to add someone to the environment and develop another coach, with Chris Cohen’s role really enhancing.

“We are giving Chris more responsibility all the time due to his outstanding contribution since he joined us from Nottingham Forest early last season, and we felt that we needed to take a few things off him in terms of supplementary coaching, but we needed to get the right one in.

“Again, I know the fans will be excited because Sheez was so popular as a player and contributed so much to our success. It’s a real boost for everyone to have Mick and Sheez back to work alongside the outstanding coaches we already have.”

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Alan, who scored eight times in his four-year Hatters playing career, said: “It’s amazing to be back. It’s an opportunity that I couldn’t say no to, to work under a manager that I loved playing for along with Harty, Mick and the rest of the staff.

“To be able to come in and learn off people like that every day is so exciting, but more importantly to be able to do it at a club that I love, I’m just so happy, my family are happy and I can’t wait to get to work and get into it.

“Luton is a special place for me. I’ve gone away for the last couple of years and been fortunate to work in first team football, learn the ropes and start my apprenticeship. I’ve grafted really hard to get everything into place, but now I just can’t wait to be back at Kenilworth Road and continue learning the role.

“The fans have been unbelievable to me and hopefully I can be a small piece in the jigsaw and contribute as much as I can for them, to help this club continue being really successful.”

Welcome back Big Mick and Sheez!

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