Keep Chris Hughton welcome brief - Alan Pardew

ALAN Pardew is hoping that Newcastle United fans don’t give former boss Chris Hughton too much of a warm welcome when he brings Norwich City to St James’ Park tomorrow afternoon.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew and former Magpies boss Chris Hughton
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew and former Magpies boss Chris Hughton

ALAN Pardew is hoping that Newcastle United fans don’t give former boss Chris Hughton too much of a warm welcome when he brings Norwich City to St James’ Park tomorrow afternoon.

Hughton will make his first public appearance at the stadium since he was sacked in December 2010, just days before Pardew replaced him.

But the current Newcastle manager had nothing but admiration for the job done by his predecessor on Tyneside.

And while Hughton will get a rousing reception on his return to Newcastle, Pardew said ahead of tomorrow’s clash: “Ideally for me as the Newcastle manager and for my team, I think it’s important that Chris’ thank you or whatever he’s going to get from the fans, is perhaps done before the game or at the start.

“Then they need to get behind us because it’s going to be a tough game, don’t worry about that.

“I don’t really want Chris’ name sung throughout the game, that’s not really where I’m at.”

Pardew took the reins at United when they were mid-table in the Premier League and six months after promotion from the Championship. However, he feels that there should be respect for the whole team that achieved elevation to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Pardew said: “As well as Chris, I have to pay credit to Kevin Nolan and Alan Smith, Harps and Joey Barton in that period in the Championship, because those senior players certainly helped Chris, there’s no doubt about that.

“And I think Chris would be the first to say that.

“They should get some credit as well for what they did.

“Having said all that, we have moved on, but the spirit that was put in by those players and by Chris, has continued here. It is easy to build on.

“You can’t underestimate getting out of the Championship, and although I thought Mike (Ashley) and the board were brave in letting him keep all the best players, you’ve still got to do the job.

“And I know from trying to get out of the Championship that it’s very, very tough. It’s a very hard job and he did a terrific part of that.

“Both of us can probably look each other in the eye and say we’ve both done a decent job at Newcastle so far. On his part now he has a different agenda and a different project, it’s a tough one because Norwich second year in haven’t had too much investment in the team, so it’s tough.

“But they’ve got some good players and they had some good results last season, so it’s a game that for us that would probably put us in the top eight if we win – and that’s where we want to be.

“If Chris has to go home unhappy, I’d only want it to be on a professional level, that’s all.”

James Perch – one of Hughton’s last signings – also paid tribute to the former United manager, and said: “He is a top bloke.

“You couldn’t meet a nicer fellow in football and I think that is why Newcastle did so well under him.

“You get some managers who you cannot talk to but I think if players came across Chris anywhere, they felt they could talk to him and approach him. He was just that kind of guy.

“I do owe him a massive debt. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have got my chance in the Premier League and I wouldn’t be here now.

“I have to thank Chris and also Colin (Calderwood) for that. I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me. It was their input that changed my life.”

Meanwhile, news broke yesterday that Cheick Tiote could make his return to the United line-up. And Pardew said: “I think he’s one of those players who doesn’t actually train unless he’s 100%.

“It’s just whether I feel that he can play, or whether my sports science guys tell me that he’s got 90 minutes.

“I don’t like playing players unless I feel they’ve got 90 minutes or a good 70 minutes in the locker, and I think he’s probably just shy of that.

“I think he’s definitely done with the injury and he’s ready to go.”

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