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Carr hails Ashley

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Graham Carr (pictured) is convinced Mike Ashley is the right man to take Newcastle forward

Graham Carr (pictured) is convinced Mike Ashley is the right man to take Newcastle forward

Graham Carr (pictured) is convinced Mike Ashley is the right man to take Newcastle forward

Newcastle chief scout Graham Carr believes exciting times lie ahead at the club and thinks much of that is thanks to owner Mike Ashley.

The sportswear tycoon has endured a difficult time since taking over the Magpies in May 2007 and has incurred the wrath of fans with some of his decisions. The renaming of St James' Park was one such issue but Carr has praised Ashley for helping turn Newcastle from what was recently a second-tier club into a settled and progressive team.

"The reason behind it really is the fact Mike is in for the long haul," said Carr after signing a new eight-year deal on Thursday. "People thought that he would move on sometime but Mike wants to take the club further and he wants to have a stable backroom staff."

The 67-year-old went on: "We have had a good season and hopefully we can build on it, which we are trying to do.

"I think we want to eventually be targeting top-four finishes and hopefully we can do it in a few years.

"For now, we are quite happy with the progress."

Carr joined Newcastle in February 2010 during Chris Hughton's reign and has proved to be one of the club's shrewdest acquisitions.

The former Northampton and Blackpool manager picked out the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse and Sylvain Marveaux as the Magpies defied expectations and qualified for Europe for the first time since 2006.

PA