Ameobi gives three cheers for Hughton

Newcastle United 3 Reading 0
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The Independent Online

Don't hold your breath, but months of uncertainty at St James' Park should become clearer in the next 48 hours when Mike Ashley, Newcastle United's contrary owner, decides whether to take the crisis club off the market. Again.

After a comprehensive win earned Newcastle their first Championship victory, Ashley has been urged to show more faith in Chris Hughton, the caretaker manager, by Shola Ameobi, who dedicated his first career hat-trick to the late Sir Bobby Robson.

Despite the presence of Barry Moat, the Tyneside businessman looking to take over the club, alongside a relieved Ashley in the directors' box, it is equally likely there will be no change of ownership before the end of the month, opening up the daunting prospect of Joe Kinnear's return as manager.

And while that will further frustrate supporters, who regularly chanted for the appointment of Alan Shearer and the removal of Ashley, there was a drive from within the dressing room to show support for Hughton. "Chris and Colin [Calderwood, Hughton's assistant] have done some fantastic things in what is an impossible situation," Ameobi said. "If the owner doesn't sell the club we've got two guys there who we believe in.

"There's been a lot of turmoil upstairs and it's something we as players can't do anything about. All I have seen is that the lads really respect Chris and Colin. It'd be great to have a manager but if that doesn't happen we have got two guys there who can lift us and get us winning games to get back into the Premier League. I've seen a response. Even players you'd assume wouldn't want to be here."

Newcastle's cause may be aided by the arrival of the former England defender Sol Campbell, who attended the game on Saturday and told fans he hopes to sign for the club this week.

He was part of a higher than expected 37,000 crowd, who saw Ameobi steal in front of Reading full-back Ryan Bertrand to cushion a header from Jose Enrique's perfect centre seven minutes before half-time.

A first goal since February was swiftly followed after the break by another far post finish, before Adam Federici was sent the wrong way from the penalty spot late on.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Harper; R Taylor, Coloccini, S Taylor, Enrique; Barton (LuaLua, 82), Smith (Geremi, 79), Nolan, Gutierrez; Carroll, Ameobi (Xisco, 78). Substitutes not used: Krul, Kadar, Ranger, Donaldson.

Reading (4-5-1): Federici; Rosenior, Pearce, Cissé, Bertrand; Church (Robson-Kanu, 54), Davies, Karacan, Tabb (Harper, 65), Kebe (Hunt, 65); Long. Substitutes not used: Mills, Gunnarsson, Hamer, Sigurdsson.

Referee: A Taylor (Greater Manchester) .

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