When Nathan Jones left Luton Town to take charge at Stoke City in early January this year, you would have forgiven Hatters fans for fearing the worst.
At the time of Jones’ departure, Luton were second in League One, two points clear of the play-offs, and many worried that the manager’s departure would derail the push for back to back promotions.
Fast forward ten games and two months however, and Luton are now top of the League One table, seven points clear of the play-offs.
Much of the credit for continuing that push towards the Championship has gone towards club legend Mick Harford, who has stepped away from his role of Head of Recruitment for the club to return to the home dugout at Kenilworth Road, and has more than done his bit in keeping Luton on track for a return to the second tier of English football.
Harford has no doubt been helped by the continuation of the form shown under Jones of his squad, who show no fear at being chased down by last season’s Championship relegation sufferers Sunderland and Barnsley.
It would however have been easy for his players to become distracted by the changes off the field, and the ongoing speculation around who will be in that manager’s chair next August.
That that has not been the case is a huge feather in cap of Harford, himself a former player and manager at Luton, meaning it was little surprise to many looking in from the outside when the club confirmed Harford would continue as manager until at least the end of the season.
Harford’s last managerial spell with Luton saw the club drop out of the Football League altogether after hampered with a thirty point deduction, though a memorable win over Scunthorpe at Wembley meant they took the Football League Trophy with them.
Speaking recently about that relegation, Harford said that he felt somewhat responsible for it despite the points deduction, and that taking the Hatters back to the Championship would serve as a form of “redemption” for him.
Given everything he has done for the club both on and off the field, it seems only fair that should Harford achieve that promotion, he be given the chance to take his redemption full circle and lead the club in the Championship, if only to prove just what he can do with club when on a level playing field.