Harford's chance to impress

JUST over three months ago, Mick Harford was still working alongside Geraint Williams at Colchester United, preparing for the U's second season in the Championship.

By Carl Marston

JUST over three months ago, Mick Harford was still working alongside Geraint Williams at Colchester United, preparing for the U's second season in the Championship.

But tonight, Harford returns to Layer Road as the caretaker manager of basement club QPR, following his appointment as the new No. 2 at Loftus Road in late June and John Gregory's dismissal as Rangers manager on Monday.

Harford would like the QPR job permanently, so he really needs to inspire his side to victory over his old club tonight. It promises to be an intriguing encounter, not least because Colchester are gunning for their first home win of the campaign.


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“There are a lot of ironies in football. It's amazing, all of a sudden, that I am managing QPR and taking them to the team that I recently left,” admitted Harford last night.

“It's a good opportunity for me, but in difficult circumstances. I have been in this position before at Wimbledon and Nottingham Forest.

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“I know what the situation is - if you can win games you get an opportunity to manage the football club. It's all about winning, and that's what I am here to do.

“I will pick what I believe is the best team to beat Colchester,” confirmed 48-year-old Harford.

And the ex-U's No. 2 has been quick to act in the transfer market, recruiting two players on loan yesterday - Preston midfielder Jason Jarrett and Birmingham front-runner Rowan Vine.

Both are included in tonight's squad, and U's fans will have fond memories of Vine, who bagged 12 goals in a season-long loan from Portsmouth in 2003-04.

Vine revealed: “The major factor for me (in signing for QPR) was the opportunity to stake a claim for a first team spot. I've been surplus to requirements at Birmingham, and this is a fantastic opportunity for me.”

Harford played a big part in the U's excellent debut season in the Championship, working alongside manager Williams. United finished 10th in the table.

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