Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

Hughton relishing return to Magpies

Chris Hughton was sacked by Newcastle in December 2010
Chris Hughton was sacked by Newcastle in December 2010

Chris Hughton insists he harbours no bitterness towards Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and the club's board despite his ruthless sacking 21 months ago.

The Norwich manager returns to Tyneside on Sunday for the first time since he was dismissed after guiding Newcastle out of the Championship and back into a mid-table position in the Premier League. Hughton was replaced by Alan Pardew who has taken the club into Europe and strengthened Newcastle's squad with key signings such as striker Demba Ba.

Hughton said: "From the day I left there it was a conscious decision that I was only going to look forward and I think through any experience, good or bad, you have to grow from that. I am delighted to be here at Norwich at a wonderful club. We will take good support there with us. For me it was always a case of just moving on."

He added: "They are a wonderful outfit with some fabulous players. They have managed to maintain the improvement by bringing in better players. It's no surprise to see where they are at this moment.

"You always feel with Newcastle they can make the changes that will change the game. (Papiss) Cisse and Ba up front are as prolific a strikeforce as there is anywhere in the country.

"When you have that ammunition along with Hatem Ben Arfa, who arguably is their best player, they have got a real attacking force who can change a game."

Hughton is likely to receive a warm ovation from a home crowd appreciative of the stability he brought to the club following a period of sustained volatility.

"I had a very good three years there," said Hughton. "The supporters were excellent towards me in a period of time that wasn't all good. During those three years we did get relegated and come up again. They were difficult times but the supporters were good to me.

"I enjoyed the time I spent there and there are a lot of staff and players still there from my time. I am looking forward to going back but it is about the performance. I will feel the occasion better if we give a good account of ourselves."

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