Mick Harford opens up on ‘emotional’ return to Sunderland ahead of crunch Luton clash

Mick Harford is expecting an emotional return to Sunderland
Mick Harford is expecting an emotional return to Sunderland
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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.”