x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Pressure on Hughton for away victory

Manager being blamed for erratic season and off-field problems have not helped Newcastle with striker Carroll arrested on assault charge.

Chris Hughton, the Newcastle United manager, has been under scrutiny in recent times.
Chris Hughton, the Newcastle United manager, has been under scrutiny in recent times.

Chris Hughton takes his Newcastle United side into this evening's kick-off at West Ham United under mounting pressure.

Despite his impressive job in leading Newcastle back to the Premier League last season amid a backdrop of boardroom uncertainty, Hughton's position has come under scrutiny because of the club's erratic start to this season - especially poor results at home.

Off-the-field problems involving Andy Carroll, the England Under 21 striker who was in court this week on an assault charge, have also raised questions about Hughton's ability to discipline his players.

The club's board resolved to wait until three months into the season before making a judgement on Hughton's ability to establish the team in the top division of English football. But defeat today at West Ham, who are anchored at the foot of the table, could prompt action by the board.

Should Newcastle decide to part company with Hughton, Alan Pardew, who was sacked by English lower league side Southampton last month, has been earmarked as the favourite to take over. Martin O'Neill, Alan Curbishley and Martin Jol have also been mentioned.

Hughton suffered a blow this week when Colin Calderwood, his assistant, left to join Hibernian, the Scottish club.

"These are testing times, the obvious and of course results and wanting to win football matches," Hughton said yesterday.

"But these are periods you have to go through and certainly at this football club, we have been able to go through these periods and if anything, it has made us stronger as an outfit and stronger as a team.

"I see no reason why we can't do that again. Whether it be this period of the season, halfway through the season or at the end of the season, these are the pressures you have to deal with."

With his future the subject of much debate, Hughton could have done without Carroll, his leading striker, attracting unwelcome headlines this week.

Carroll, 21, was granted bail after appearing in court accused of attacking his former partner.

The strapping forward was granted conditional bail to live with his club captain, Kevin Nolan, at his family home.

Then his car was burnt outside Nolan's home.

"From my point of view and the club's point of view, these are the things we have to deal with and we have to deal with them in the appropriate manner," Hughton said. "It is a different era these days and these are the things you have to deal with.

"But Andy is a strong-minded individual and I am quite sure he will be in the right frame of mind to play football, quite sure."

Carroll will today be up against Manuel da Costa, the West Ham defender who was also arrested last week following a nightclub incident.



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