Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

No Magpies role for Harford

Mick Harford, pictured, played under Joe Kinnear at Wimbledon

Mick Harford's proposed appointment as assistant to Newcastle director of football Joe Kinnear has fallen through.

It emerged on Sunday that the 54-year-old former striker was in discussions with the club he briefly represented as a player over a role working alongside his former Wimbledon manager.

However, Press Association Sport understands those talks have failed to reach a successful conclusion.

It had been suggested that Harford would concentrate on the domestic market, helping Kinnear to identify potential targets from the lower leagues and monitoring those players sent out on loan by manager Alan Pardew.

However, news of the talks sparked further claims that Pardew was being undermined amid accusations that owner Mike Ashley was installing a shadow management team above him.

The manager and his players are currently in Portugal, where they are continuing their preparations for the new season following a 3-1 friendly defeat by Rio Ave on Saturday evening.

Kinnear, who was put in charge of all football-related matters when he was controversially appointed to his new post by Ashley, is currently attempting to implement the transfer plan put in place after discussions with Pardew and chief scout Graham Carr, although the Magpies remain the only Barclays Premier League club yet to sign a senior player this summer.

But that could change in the near future with the club understood to have formalised their interest in Lyon's France international striker Bafetimibi Gomis, while Aston Villa's Darren Bent remains firmly in their sights despite reported interest from Fulham.

The striking department was identified as the priority at the end of last season after Newcastle's unexpected fight against relegation, and Papiss Cisse's ongoing absence as a result of his refusal to wear the Wonga brand on his shirt and an arm injury sustained by Shola Ameobi at the weekend have severely depleted Pardew's resources.

The 52-year-old told the Chronicle: "I'm focusing on the team out here, and Joe, [club secretary] Lee Charnley and Graham are looking to get someone over the line.

"At the minute, especially if Shola's missing and with no Papiss out here, we're a little bit light for a Premier League team. I spoke to Joe on Friday and he has some important meetings."

Harford later confirmed that he had turned down an offer to assist Kinnear.

He told Sky Sports News: "I have declined an offer to be Joe Kinnear's assistant. After meeting with Mike Ashley and Joe Kinnear, I made the decision that it's not the right time for me to take up this role.

"It was an honour to be asked to work at a fantastic club and I have the utmost respect for the club and its fans. I am currently enjoying a role helping out at Millwall, but would like to thank Mike Ashley and Joe Kinnear for the opportunity."

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