Hughton warns Carroll over conduct

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The Independent Football

Chris Hughton, the Newcastle manager, has instructed striker Andy Carroll to concentrate on his football after he was fined for common assault.

The 21-year-old yesterday pleaded guilty to the lesser charge – he had initially been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm – and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay nearly £1,500 in costs and £2,500 in compensation to victim Michael Cook.

The sentence brought an end to an unsavoury period in the England Under-21 international's career and Hughton is hoping he can put it all behind him and let his football do the talking – as he did when he scored the winner in Saturday's 2-1 Premier League victory at West Ham.

Hughton said: "We are all delighted with today, but what everybody wants to do is just get back to watching him do what he does best, as he did on Saturday at West Ham."

It has been a difficult time for Carroll, who appeared in court the weekend before last charged with assaulting a former girlfriend – an accusation he strenuously denies – and then had his car burnt out on the driveway of team-mate Kevin Nolan's home.

However, his contribution to Saturday's much-needed victory earned him more appetising headlines and although Hughton is keen to keep Carroll's feet firmly on the ground, he knows there is untapped potential in a man who is already emerging as a local hero. The manager said: "We are very definite about what we say about him. He is still a young lad and he is still a young lad who has improvements in his game to make. We are conscious of not building him into something he isn't at the moment.

"But he has wonderful potential and he is a young lad who is playing regularly now in the Premier League and if you are able to do that, you are able to make progress."

Hughton is likely to leave Carroll out of tomorrow's Carling Cup fourth-round tie against Arsenal as he makes full use of his squad ahead of the derby with Sunderland at the weekend.

In the meantime, the manager will be happy to leave Carroll in the hands of his captain Nolan, with whom he is living under the conditions of his bail arrangements.

Hughton said with a smile: "Kevin looks after him very well. I think he arranges his supper at the right time and makes sure he is tucked up in very good time to get a full night's sleep.

"If the two of them can continue to score the goals and put in the performances they did [on Saturday], then I am quite happy with the arrangement."