STEVEN Taylor will be offered a new contract this summer as Chris Hughton insists there is no reason why he cannot continue to play in the same side as Andy Carroll.
Taylor and Carroll came to blows after a training ground row last month and many feel it will be tricky for both to remain at St James’ Park beyond the end of this season.
Hughton, though, is not one of them and the Magpies boss is convinced both Geordie graduates from the Academy are able to put any difficulties behind them and focus on playing for their hometown club.
“We will be looking at starting new contract talks over the summer with Steven Taylor,” Hughton revealed.
“There is absolutely no reason why he and Andy Carroll cannot play in the same team together. I expect both of them to still be here next season.
“They are both very important members of the squad. We have a lot of good young players who you would like to think will continue to develop at this football club. That includes Steven and Andy – they have been big players for us this season.
“It is not be all and end all, but it is good to have local lads playing for the club. It doesn’t happen very often anymore, but we have got four or five in the first-team squad who grew up as Newcastle fans. That’s unusual.” Taylor
returned to training last week and took part in the end of season title celebrations after the 2-2- draw with Ipswich with no obvious discomfort, physical or otherwise.
Hughton, who has steadfastly refused to comment on the alleged clash between the two, believes the 24-year-old he remains an integral part of the team’s future. But with one year left on his current deal there is a fear the talented centre-half could agitate for a move this summer.
There has even been wild speculation in the last few days he is a transfer target for Spanish giants Barcelona.
Hughton has not heard anything about that supposed interest from Spain and he will ask owner Mike Ashley to do everything he can to offer Taylor a contract which will fend off interest from rival clubs, home and abroad.
Meanwhile, Hughton admits he is going to have a tough decision to make with his goalkeepers next season following Fraser Forster’s excellent loan spell at Norwich.
Forster has been tipped as a future England goalkeeper by Canaries boss Paul Lambert and Hughton is keen to assess the 22-year-old’s development when he returns for the start of pre-season training on Tyneside.
But, with Krul already itching for more first-team opportunities and Steve Harper in excellent form all season, Hughton has the tricky task of trying to keep all three of them happy.
He said: “Fraser has had an excellent season at Norwich and we have been kept up-to-date with his progress while he has been down there.
“We rate him very, very highly. We are very fortunate in that department. Steve Harper has had a fantastic season, but we also have two excellent young goalkeepers in Tim Krul and Fraser Forster.
“It is difficult on one hand because there are three of them, but Tim and Fraser are still developing and it will be interesting to see how they develop over the next couple of years.
“We rate them both and we will decide what we are going to do when the time comes, but we want to keep them both, that’s for sure.
“Loan deals are something we can look at because Fraser has benefited from his time at Norwich and Tim has also gone out on loan in the past and enjoyed it. It’s a really nice problem to have.”