CHRIS Hughton is not expecting to make any early breakthroughs in the transfer market this summer as he congratulated his current squad for breaking the 100-point barrier with a 1-0 win at Queen’s Park Rangers.
A single goal from substitute Peter Lovenkrands was enough to give the Magpies the win to round off a thoroughly impressive season in fitting style, although Hughton was happy to admit yesterday was not one of their better performances.
Since promotion and the Champion- ship title were secured, attention has already started to focus on summer recruitment, but with a transfer budget which is going to be restricted by the need to restructure the club’s finances – more than £110m is owed to owner Mike Ashley – Hughton has already insisted he will go for quality rather than quantity.
The Journal revealed last week that Hughton is only looking to bring in three or four new faces when the transfer window opens and, while that may change if other players are moved on, he is happy to take his time.
“It’s going to be tough to make an early breakthrough in the transfer market,” said Hughton, set to meet Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias this week to discuss the money available.
“We’re enjoying winning the Championship and reaching all of our targets. There is no doubt there will be a fair amount of phone calls being made over the summer, but we’ve only just finished the season.
“The Premier League clubs have a head start on us, but we will work hard to play catch up. We haven’t made any offers yet and I don’t expect anything to happen in the next week or so. The important thing is going up and staying up.
“I don’t feel we need a lot more in this squad next season. We are moving to a bigger, tougher league so it would be silly to think we don’t need to bring some in.
“I think if I look at the impact we have had with players we’ve brought in you can see how new faces can refresh things.” Hughton was also happy with
the manner in which his side, despite a steady succession of promotion parties, managed to grind out yet another win in their final game in the Championship.
He said: “It feels great. The game summed up a little bit how we’ve been. It wasn’t one of our better performances.
“We rode our luck in the first half. But we’ve always got something in the locker. When we’ve needed to get a goal we have got one and that has been part of the story of our season.”
He added: “100 points was the least of the targets we wanted to achieve, but it will be wonderful for the lads to manage this.
“This club is used to doing it at a higher level, but that takes nothing away from what these players have done.”
And, having seen back up goalkeeper Tim Krul keep a clean sheet during a rare first-team start, Hughton praised the young Dutchman for the patience he has shown this season as understudy to the in-form Steve Harper.
He said: “Tim has taken over from where Harps has been all season. He pulled out some big saves today. We have won this division because we are the all-round best team.
“Tim is a very confident goalkeeper. We are fortunate that we have two very good young keepers. Tim lacks first team experience, but he showed today that he is a quality player.
“I expect he’ll be knocking on my door over the summer asking for more first-team games next season. He is an ambitious lad and we rate him highly.”
Meanwhile, QPR boss Neil Warnock admitted Newcastle have been far too good for the rest of the Championship this season as he backed Hughton’s belief they will only need a handful of new signings to be able to hold their own in the top flight.
He said: “We brought two kids on and they brought Andy Carroll and Peter Lovenkrands onto the pitch. That said, it all really.
“I was talking to Chris before the game, they need two or three quality players rather than five or six.
“They don’t have the money to do more than that. It’s all about getting the right players for his jigsaw.
“I am looking forward to seeing how they get on. I think they will do well.”