New blow for U's as Harford may leave

COLCHESTER United's summer of discontent took another turn for the worse yesterday with the prospect of Mick Harford leaving the club.U's Chief Executive Marie Partner confirmed that permission had been granted for assistant manager Harford to speak to QPR about joining John Gregory's coaching staff at Loftus Road.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's summer of discontent took another turn for the worse yesterday with the prospect of Mick Harford leaving the club.

U's Chief Executive Marie Partner confirmed that permission had been granted for assistant manager Harford to speak to QPR about joining John Gregory's coaching staff at Loftus Road.

Harford made a terrific impact last season, following his arrival as the No. 2 to Geraint Williams in late August. United soon put their poor start to the campaign behind (they lost their first five games), eventually finishing 10th in the Championship.


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The 48-year-old was always likely to be in high demand, and had been linked with the vacant managerial post at his former club Luton Town earlier this year.

But news of Harford's possible exit is still a big shock for the U's, who have already lost key striker Chris Iwelumo (to Charlton Athletic) and loanee left-back Chris Barker (to QPR).

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Furthermore, Golden Boot winner Jamie Cureton slapped in a transfer request last week, which was turned down by the club, and Richard Garcia is currently out of contract.

Mrs Partner issued the following statement yesterday: “Assistant manager Mick Harford approached the club in the early part of last week to seek permission to speak to Queens Park Rangers.

“There have been ongoing discussions since that time and, based on the reasons for Mick's request, serious consideration had to be given before permission was granted.

“This was confirmed to Mick late last night (Sunday), allowing him to speak to QPR. The decision was not taken lightly and the reasons for this will become clearer.”

QPR boss Gregory's previous No. 2, Richard Hill, was suspended indefinitely by the club following February's infamous brawl with the China Olympic team.

Gregory said: “I've personally been given permission to speak to Mick Harford and I will be sitting down with him in the next seven days.”

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