Newcastle 'is not my concern' says former manager Chris Hughton

Norwich entertain Newcastle tomorrow

Manager Chris Hughton maintains his only focus will be on getting Norwich back to winning ways when former club Newcastle come to Carrow Road tomorrow.

Hughton was unceremoniously axed by the Magpies in December 2010, despite the side being in mid-table in the Barclays Premier League following promotion the season before.

The 54-year-old, though, insists plenty of water has flowed under the bridge since then, as he went on to manage at Birmingham before taking over at Carrow Road following Paul Lambert's departure last summer.

Nevertheless, Hughton is still held in high regard by the Toon Army and received a warm reception when Norwich played at St James' Park in September.

However, with Norwich having lost their last four Premier League games before last weekend's FA Cup win at Peterborough, Hughton maintains he has enough to worry about within his own squad than to concern himself with what might be going wrong for Magpies boss Alan Pardew.

"Of course it is a nice feeling, and it is probably an appreciation of the job I did there," Hughton said.

"But as soon as that whistle blows, it is about business and trying to play well enough to get the points.

"Anything at Newcastle now, though, is not my concern. My only concern is here and the job I am doing here.

"But in general, yes, we would all like managers to be given more time, given opportunities to put their stamp on the club and also to go through difficult spells."

Newcastle are certainly in the middle of a testing run, which has seen them lose 11 of the last 14 in all competitions, culminating in a dire 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Brighton last weekend.

The Canaries, though, have seen their own wings clipped over a miserable festive schedule when a superb 10-game unbeaten league run came crashing to a halt with defeats to West Brom, Chelsea, Manchester City and then West Ham on New Year's Day.

Hughton, however, insists there have been encouraging signs during that barren spell.

"We are on the back of four straight league defeats all by one goal and they are the margins you have in this division," said Hughton, who could have captain Grant Holt back from a hamstring injury tomorrow.

"Are our performances any worse than when we went through our good run? Probably not. It is just the margins of being able to get that draw or the win."

Hughton added: "We know it is not one of the better periods for Newcastle, but we also know the qualities they have and that they are capable of winning any game.

"Most people would expect them to soon pick up and start climbing the table, for us we hope it is not this weekend."

Norwich are looking to move in the January transfer window to bolster their squad and steer clear of being dragged back down into the battle for survival.

Hughton yesterday rejected suggestions a deal had already been done for Celtic striker Gary Hooper, although reports continue to suggest the Bhoys frontman is close to agreeing a move to Norfolk.

The Norwich manager, though, stressed any player who comes in has to buy into the current group's strong work ethic.

"Would I like to bring someone in? Yes, but only if it is the right player, and at the right budget," said Hughton.

"If I do, it means it is somebody who can add something to the squad, but I would not bring them in just for the sake of adding a couple of names.

"It would have to be someone who could get into the team and improve us."

PA

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