Hughton ready to accept Newcastle job

Chris Hughton hopes to take over as permanent Newcastle boss within days before redoubling his efforts to drag the club back into the Barclays Premier League.

The former Tottenham and Republic of Ireland full-back confirmed today that talks over the vacant post - he has been acting as caretaker since July 1 - are ongoing and could reach a conclusion after Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship clash with Doncaster.

Hughton revealed earlier this week that he had been offered the job, the clearest indication yet that owner Mike Ashley is ready to shelve plans to sell the club for a second time.

The news emerged after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest, which saw the Magpies slip to second place in the table, a position which was confirmed by a second successive reverse at Scunthorpe in midweek.

However, Hughton today insisted that double setback would have no influence on the ongoing talks.

He said: "The objective at the start of the season was to get this club promotion, and that hasn't changed.

"Talks are ongoing, but from both parties' points of view, they want me to be the manager and I want to be the manager here."

Ashley held further talks with Tyneside businessman Barry Moat earlier this week over his proposed takeover, but he, like all the other consortia who have expressed an interest, is still to come up with the money to push through a deal.

Hughton's own future could be resolved next week, by which point a new incumbent is likely to have been installed down the road at Middlesbrough.

The Teessiders were today finalising their own plans to appoint former Celtic boss Gordon Strachan as Gareth Southgate's replacement.

Southgate was sacked on Tuesday evening, just hours after guiding his side to a 2-0 win over Derby which left them a point behind Newcastle.

Hughton admitted nothing in football surprises him nowadays, and tipped the former England defender to return to management in the near future.

He said: "There are certainly no surprises in this game.

"Gareth is a manager who has served the club very, very well. He's wonderful football person and I am quite sure it will not be long before he is plying his trade back in management.

"But there aren't too many surprises these days."

In the meantime, Hughton will concentrate on the business of attempting to end his side's four-game wait for a victory following home draws QPR and Bristol City and the defeats at Forest and Scunthorpe.

He will be without combative skipper Alan Smith this weekend after he collected a fifth booking of the season at Glanford Park, while central defender Steven Taylor remains on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

However, Argentina international Fabricio Coloccini could return after four games on the sidelines with a groin injury.

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