Newcastle happy with Hughton

Magpies give support to No 2 as manager Kinnear recovers from heart surgery
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The Independent Football

Newcastle will not appoint another manager as Joe Kinnear recovers from heart surgery. Managing director Derek Llambias has dismissed suggestions that the Magpies will look to draft in a replacement – Wigan's Steve Bruce has been touted as a long-term replacement, while a series of candidates have been suggested as possible stop-gap custodians – and will instead leave the club's fate in the hands of coaches Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood.

The two men have been in charge since 62-year-old Kinnear was admitted to hospital on the morning of the Premier League trip to West Bromwich on 7 February.

Victory there and a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Everton on Sunday despite Kevin Nolan's 43rd-minute dismissal have confirmed the faith the regime at St James' Park have invested in them, and they will continue to lead the fight for top-flight survival.

Llambias told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle: "Chris has done a good job. He is full of confidence. Colin is in there helping us and Joe is still in the background.

"We are happy with that situation, and that will take us through until the end of the season. Chris is a thorough football man and a highly-respected coach. The players are full of respect for him and Colin Calderwood."

Kinnear was discharged from hospital on Saturday, a little more than a week after undergoing triple heart bypass surgery, and has been told he will need around eight weeks' rest before he can consider returning to work.

However, Llambias has revealed he played his part in Sunday's draw and will continue to have an influence.

He said: "Joe was on the phone for about one-and-a-half hours to Chris on Saturday. Chris and Colin will talk to him on a regular basis. Unless they cut the phone lines around his house, there's no way he won't communicate.

"He phoned me at 11pm on Saturday night because he needed some information. The next morning he was back on the phone to Chris for two hours. He then rang me again.

"I have had to tell him he is meant to be resting. It's the way Joe is. He has to learn that for two or three weeks he has to calm down and take it easy."

The club have reduced season ticket prices for the 2009-10 campaign by an average of nine per cent. The reductions will take the cost of watching games at St James' Park for the majority of tickets holders back to 2007-08 levels.

Young supporters will benefit from the expansion of the family enclosure, while the age for junior concessions will be raised from 16 to 18. Llambias said: "At a time when money is tight for supporters, football clubs have to recognise the sacrifices people make following their team and offer any assistance they can in making games affordable to watch.

"We have decided to reduce the majority of prices back to 2007-08 levels to help fans because we appreciate the big commitment they make in buying their season tickets every year. We are also further increasing the family enclosure and raising the age of the junior price concession to 18."

A season ticket in the Gallowgate End, which cost £543 for the current campaign, will cost £494 next season, while more than half the seats inside St James' will be available to season ticket holders for £26 or less a game. Parent and child season tickets will be on sale at the equivalent of £21 per match.

Attendances at the club's home games have dwindled since Mike Ashley bought the club and have topped 50,000 only three times this season. A crowd of only 47,683 watched Sunday's 0-0 draw with Everton.

Llambias admitted the club is going through a tough spell, but is confident of improved fortunes. He said: "It has been a tough season – nobody will pretend otherwise – but together, we must all look to better times ahead."