Mick Harford has opened up on an ‘emotional’ return to Sunderland as he prepares to lead Luton Town at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.
A boyhood Sunderland fan, Harford represented his hometown club for a brief spell in 1993 during an illustrious playing career.
Since retiring, he has turned his attentions to management - previously managing the Hatters alongside spells at Rotherham United, QPR and Nottingham Forest.
And after a nine-year hiatus from the dugout, Harford will return to the touchline this weekend - albeit in a temporary capacity.
The 59-year-old has been handed caretaker charge of the Black Cats’ promotion rivals after Nathan Jones’ departure to Stoke City - and it is perhaps fitting that his first game in charge comes against the Wearsiders.
For Harford, a return to the North East promises to be an emotional afternoon.
But he won’t let emotion get in the way of securing a result for his current employers.
“It’s as we know an emotional game for me,” he admitted,
“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.”
While Harford will enjoy leading the Hatters this weekend, he is not in contention to land the job on a permanent basis.
But he feels whoever does take the reigns at the Black Cats’ promotion rivals will be joining at an ‘exciting’ time.
“It’s a unique situation really,” he told Luton Today.
“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.”