New season, new Dons line-up

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MICK Harford has been confirmed as Karl Robinson’s new assistant manager at MK Dons, while Ian Wright has also joined the club as a coach.

Harford takes over the role from John Gorman who announced his retirement from the game two weeks ago, while former England striker Wright will be a part-time first team coach until January when he takes on the role full-time.

Last spotted as caretaker boss of Queens Park Rangers, 53-year-old Harford guided Luton to their 2009 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win, as well as having a successful playing career with the Hatters and Wimbledon.

Robinson said he was delighted to have the two men on-board.

“It’s a wonderful team, probably the strongest in the league,” he said. “Mick is an experienced manager – he has played at the highest level, and Wrighty is one of the best strikers in Premier League history and one of the biggest characters too.

“The beauty is the burning ambition of these two people to succeed. They’ll bring great enthusiasm too.

“The club will always be indebted to John Gorman for what he’s done around the place, and now this is a new era. It’s time for us to get that promotion.

“Mick is some man. He’ll wind up an awful lot of Luton and Wimbledon fans by coming here, but he’s an excellent coach and really well respected in the game.

“People are fearful of Mick, but he’s a football man and I need to be surrounded by them.

“I didn’t know Mick before. I’ve gone on pure reputation. I spoke to 10 different people about him, I’ve met him plenty of times, we had a meal, played golf, and it has been very impulsive in the way we’ve done things.

“He loves our style of football and he’s been watched us a number of times. I really like him. They are two great people.”

New Dons number two Harford said: “Karl asked me to join him when they knew John was leaving, I met Karl on numerous occasions, got to know him. I was impressed by what I saw, what he talked about and his knowledge of the game, so it was an easy decision to join.

“We have the same ethos – we want to play football. It’s a good style of play, but it’s difficult to bring it to the table.

“I’ve managed, and been assistant to numerous managers over the years. I’ve got good experience throughout the leagues, and hopefully that can help Karl along the way.”

And while his appointment may ruffle a few feathers at Kennilworth Road, Harford said he isn’t interested in the football politics, he’s here to get Dons out of League 1.

“I’m here for football reasons, I’m not getting into the political side of it. I’m here to work for Milton Keynes Dons, it’s a great opportunity for me to get back into football. I’ve been out of work for two and a half years,” he said.

“After what has happened in the last two seasons and the disappointment of what has gone on, with the players we’ve got, hopefully we can add to the squad and we can fight for promotion again I’m sure.

“John’s a legend in this place and a legend in the football world. He’s a great man and brings great experience to whatever role he does. It’ll be a tough act to follow, but I’ve got confidence with what I can bring to the table and we can all move forward.”

New first team coach Wright said now was the right time to get involved in football in a coaching capacity, having turned down opportunities in the past.

“The way this club plays, the ethos and how Karl wants the boys to play is exactly how I feel,” he said.

“The quality we saw on Tuesday, we battered Huddersfield, but that in itself for me and what I’ve seen this season was enough for me. It was about time for me to get involved, it’s all about getting in with the right people – with the right philosophies.

“I’m still learning. Yes, I’ve got experience at certain levels but I’m coming in at the low end and bring whatever I can to the table.

“At the end of the day, it’s about time. People have said for a long time that I should get involved. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but with commercial commitments on television and radio it has taken me away.

“I’ve always had a hankering to get back involved. I’ve had offers in the past, but it just hasn’t been right, but this feels right.

“I want the club to progress and move forward. We aren’t a million miles away, but I think we can build on that, and kick on. There isn’t much more that needs to be done.

“Watching these guys, the attitude and ability they have is much better than where they are. I’m here to help them get where they should be.”