Nolan simply rested by Newcastle

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The Independent Football

Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has assured skipper Kevin Nolan he remains part of his plans despite leaving him out on Saturday.

The 28-year-old midfielder was conspicuous by his absence from the 18 for the weekend's 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw with Wigan at St James' Park.

It was the first time Nolan had not started a league game this season after playing a major role in the club's return to the top flight in the last campaign, during which he scored 18 goals.

However, Hughton insisted the former Bolton player was simply rested and predicted he would return better for it.

He said: "It was my decision to rest him. He is a top-class individual. He is our captain.

"He has played with a couple of knocks, in particular one to his ankle, and that's why I didn't put him on the bench.

"I thought it would be better to give him a complete rest, and I am quite sure he will come back stronger and fitter.

"It's my decision, first and foremost, on team selection. I felt it was an opportunity to change it and also an opportunity to give him a rest."

Nolan's place was taken by Danish striker Peter Lovenkrands, although it was not until he was replaced by Shola Ameobi with the Magpies trailing 2-0 to Charles N'Zogbia's double that the home side belatedly made an impact.

Ameobi pulled a goal back with 18 minutes remaining, and Newcastle snatched a point in the fourth minute of stoppage time when defender Fabricio Coloccini, who had taken over the armband for the day, headed home from close range.

Hughton's men head for West Ham this weekend and welcome arch rivals Sunderland to St James' the following Sunday after a midweek Carling Cup clash with Arsenal.