CHRIS HUGHTON is keen to reach a quick agreement with owner Mike Ashley when they meet for talks later this week designed to see the caretaker manager become a permanent appointment.
Ashley indicated to Hughton late last week that he wanted to discuss the possibility of rewarding him for the way the interim boss has steered the Magpies into the Championship’s top two despite unwanted distractions off the pitch.
But Hughton was keen to put advanced discussions on hold until after the matches at Nottingham Forest last Saturday and the trip to Scunthorpe United tonight.
However, Ashley’s admission over the weekend that “Chris deserves a shot at the title” has given the former Tottenham assistant manager the encouragement to talk up his chances of becoming the full-time manager.
Key players in the dressing room have regularly made noises in support of handing the reins to Hughton and now Ashley appears to have listened.
“Mike’s comments about my position are very positive,”
said Hughton. “The indication that I have been given by the club is that they would like to have discussions with me regarding my position at the club and I take that to mean they would like to turn a temporary role into a permanent one.
“I am honoured to be offered the job, we are still in negotiations, it is something we hope will get resolved.”
The development suggests that Ashley has given up on trying to sell to Tyneside businessman Barry Moat, who has failed to convince the current regime that he can come up with the £100m asking price or even the figure of £80m which he has been told to come up with as proof of funds.
Ashley’s failure to offload the club has prevented a permanent manager being installed, with Alan Shearer the favourite among fans to be handed the job.
There has, however, been a growth of support for Hughton following the success he has had in transforming fortunes on the pitch prior to Saturday’s defeat at Nottingham Forest.
He is unclear just how much power he will have on incoming and outgoing transfers until he has held the talks with Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias.
He is, though, hoping to reach an agreement before the visit of Doncaster.
“For me, it’s not about demands.
First and foremost any offer from this club to manage them I see very much as a privilege,” he said.
“Until I get into those discussions there are a lot of areas I don’t know.
“I’ve taken it at face value.
Any offer for me to manage the club, for me it is a positive.
It’s a privilege to me and testament to what’s happened so far this season. All the other things around the club, it’s impossible for me to speak about because I haven’t had those discussions.
“I’ve been in the city long enough to recognise what Alan Shearer has done for this club and for this city. Any offer to myself is in recognition of the work I have done and that would be my only focus.”
Ideally Hughton, who still has a further season remaining on his existing contract, will head into the scheduled negotiations after overseeing a return to winning ways at Scunthorpe.
Newcastle’s defeat at Forest allowed West Brom to move back to the top of the Championship on goal difference having managed to claim just two points from the last nine available to them.
Hughton, still without Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor at Glanford Park, said: “What I’m most excited about is that although we’ve gone through a difficult couple of weeks with the results we’ve got, the large majority of the season has been very positive.
“The prospect of keeping this team in the top end of this division with the possibility of promotion – those are the things that excite me very much. The fineties (sic) of the role, it’s impossible for me to discuss because I haven’t had those discussions yet.”
NEWCASTLE (probable): Harper; R Taylor, Khizanishvili, Simpson, Enrique; Guthrie, Nolan, Smith, Lovenkrands; Harewood, Carroll.