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By ESPN Staff

Newell plans to reinstate Hatter Harford

Mike Newell will launch a bid to persuade Mick Harford to rejoin Luton as his assistant despite being sacked by the club last month.

Former Leicester, Everton and Blackburn striker Newell was appointed manager of Luton yesterday after narrowly winning the backing of Hatters fans who voted in a telephone poll to decide Joe Kinnear's successor.

Harford has already rejected one offer from Luton to reinstate him as first team coach, but Newell hopes the pair's friendship from their days as Hatters colleagues in the late eighties will help change his mind.

He said: 'I will see if it's possible. That's definitely in my mind. Early indications are that it is going to be difficult with what has gone on.

'I spoke to him just after he had left Luton because I was surprised he had gone and he was just as surprised.'

Harford was sacked along with Kinnear following Luton's takeover by a mystery consortium whose spokesman John Gurney now claims their dismissal was merely a 'misunderstanding'.

Gurney, now managing director of Luton, named clothes tycoon Tony Cooper as the new chairman of the club, and insisted the make-up of the new board of directors will be made public within days.

But his first task will be to placate Luton fans who are still angry at the departure of Kinnear and Harford, who guided Luton back into the Second Division. Gurney claims he has received death threats since his involvement with the club began, and is now calling for unity.

He said: 'We have to end the divisions. I understand the concerns of the fans but we can't have the continuing threats of violence and the difficulties we have encountered.'

Newell was one of three names in the final round of voting for Luton's next manager along with Kinnear and Steve Cotterill, who ruled himself out of the running at the weekend.

Kinnear had received overwhelming support from fans in the early voting, but the Luton board and the club's shareholders both gave their backing to Newell, who was sacked by Hartlepool despite winning promotion to Division Two.

With season ticket-holders and players voting for Kinnear, the casting vote came down to those in the 'general fans' category and Newell won through by a margin of just four votes.

Gurney said Kinnear was 'disappointed and surprised' on hearing the news shortly before Newell was unveiled, and he admitted making a recount to be sure the result was correct.

He said: 'The voting was much closer than we had anticipated. The fans effectively had the casting vote and there were only four votes in it.

'Fortunately for Steve he had other jobs in prospect and if we had asked him his answer would have been `no' because he wanted to hold himself open for other jobs.'