Town chief would like some input in who replaces ex-Forest and QPR boss Hart as Luton's academy director

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Former first team coach and assistant manager left Kenilworth Road last week

Town boss Rob Edwards is hoping to have some sort of input into who Luton name as their new academy director following Paul Hart’s decision to leave Kenilworth Road last week.​

The 69-year-old originally joined the Hatters as assistant to previous manager Nathan Jones in 2016, playing an important part in Luton’s promotion to League One and then returned when the Welshman did in June 2020, becoming first-team coach, as the club pulled off the Great Escape.

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Hart switched to his latest role in April 2022, but after working his notice period, made his exit, with former striker Paul Benson taking over in the interim period.

Paul Hart left his role as Luton's academy director recentlyPaul Hart left his role as Luton's academy director recently
Paul Hart left his role as Luton's academy director recently

Asked about his role in appointing a replacement, Edwards said: “It’s something that I could be involved in.

"It’s not something that I will have the final say on at all and I don’t think it should be, but I want to work closely with that person.

"So it would be nice to be involved in that process.”

The Town chief also went on to praise the work done by Hart, who built superb youth teams at both Leeds United and Nottingham Forest earlier in his career, since he replaced Andy Awford.

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Luton’s U18s have been flourishing this year, making the FA Youth Cup fifth round and also winning the EFL Youth Alliance South-East Division at a canter, as he continued: “He had a big impact in the time that he worked here, so from me and everyone at the club, a big, big thank you for the hard work that he put in.

"It was only very, very brief that we worked together, but he was very supportive.

"He’s got a wealth of experience, not just first team football but development football as well.

"He’s helped bring through some real top players over the years.

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"We’ll all have learnt a lot from him and we’ll carry on all of the good work that he’s put in place.”

Town’s academy has benefited hugely from Hart’s input, so much so that 16-year-old Joe Johnson was on the bench for the Hatters first team at Grimsby on Tuesday night, as was recent addition Axel Piesold, the former Spurs youngster signing a Development deal.

Edwards believes that much of what the experienced ex-Blackpool and Sheffield Wednesday defender set in motion will be continued, adding: “There’s a lot there that he’s put in place that we’ll continue doing and working on.

"He did have a real impact, especially working with the guys in the Academy.

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“From the stuff that I’ve seen, just tactically on the pitch and some of the standards and behaviours around the club, the respect that the lads show - we’ve got a lot of good lads anyway and they would’ve been doing that before he came in - but there’s very high standards in the academy at the moment.

"It’s very well run.

“He definitely had an impact and some of the things he put in place we’ll continue to do because why would you not learn from someone with his knowledge and experience?

“I just want to reiterate it, thank you very much for all the work he did.

"I know it was a short period of time but it made a real impact.”

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