Harford insists Hatters' record signing Morris has surpassed Luton's expectations

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Striker nets 20 goals in the Championship

Luton’s head of recruitment Mick Harford believes that record signing Carlton Morris has surpassed any expectations that the club had when bringing him in from Barnsley over the summer.

The 27-year-old moved to Kenilworth Road following a season in which he netted nine times in 30 games for the Tykes, joining for a fee that exceeded the £1.5m that Town paid for goalkeeper Simon Sluga back in 2019.

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He had only ever reached double figures once in his career previously, that when at Barnsley and MK Dons in the 2020-21 season, managing 11, but obliterated those figures this term, finding the net 20 times, the first Luton forward to do that in the second tier since Brian Stein over 40 years ago.

Carlton Morris celebrates reaching 20 goals for the Hatters this seasonCarlton Morris celebrates reaching 20 goals for the Hatters this season
Carlton Morris celebrates reaching 20 goals for the Hatters this season

When discussing the forward’s efforts in reaching such a personal landmark, Harford, who would have played a big role in identifying Morris to previous manager Nathan Jones, said: “He has had a magnificent season.

"We paid our record fee for Carlton, we spent our money at the top end of the pitch and he's paid off.

"He’s a great lad, real strong, robust guy and back to goal is excellent, hold up play is excellent and link play is very good.

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"He’s a real domineering type of player for us and he’s a big part of our dressing room, he’s a big character.

"He is really diligent, really hard-working and is one of those who is desperate for success, and he is hungry to get better.

“He’s done more than we expected.

"His goal tally last season or the season before wasn’t great.

"He’s got 20 goals this season which he's massively improved and his goals have taken us up the table and into third position, along with all the other players.

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"No he has surpassed what we thought he could do and I believe he has improved as a player, he's got different kinds of things to his game now.”

Despite his impressive tally, Morris remains always eager to improve and believes there is no-one better to learn from than Harford, who was a feared striker himself in his playing days, scoring 92 goals in 217 appearances for the Hatters, also winning two England caps during his time at Kenilworth Road.

The forward said: “I don’t think anyone’s as terrifying as Mick was, but the man he is today, you’d never have known it.

"He’s just so gentle and well-spoken and such a top man, so it’s interesting to see how he was back in the day.

“I’ve had a good relationship with Mick since I’ve arrived.

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"I’m always trying to pick his brain and have little conversations with him about minor details which, to the naked eye, wouldn’t really matter.

“He’s got that insight and experience and it’s crucial to learn from people like that.

“From what I hear, I don’t think he’d have got away with too much with VAR these days, but he’s brilliant to have.”

Going into more detail on specifics, he added: “The other day, we were just talking about the detail on positioning in between centre-halves and when to make your explosive movements in the box.

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“I’ve sat with him in the video room for time on end talking about never staying static in the box, always being on the move and not being like a mannequin that’s easy to mark, trying to foresee where the ball’s going to drop, so he’s taught me a lot.”