WITH the international break providing an opportunity to sit back and take stock, Chris Hughton has expressed his satisfaction at Newcastles start to the Championship season.
Grumblings of discontent accompanied the end of Saturdays goalless draw with Bristol City, a match that followed hot on the heels of Wednesdays home draw with QPR.
But Newcastle remain three points clear at the top of the table.
And while Hughton was quick to express his disappointment in the wake of their most recent stalemate, he admits he is happy with their start as a whole.
I am delighted to still be top, he said. Thats the feeling now Ive had a moment to settle down. It was not the result we were after, but what you have to do, as soon as you can, is assess where we are.
And the bigger picture is the main thing.
We have come into a league we didnt know much about and, at this stage, being three points clear at the top speaks volumes for the approach of this bunch of lads.
Thats the most important thing. We can go into the international break, get a few players back and give them a few days rest as well because the games will come thick and fast again after that.
Newcastles next game sees them travel to Nottingham Forest, and after impressing on his first start since moving to Tyneside on loan from Aston Villa, Marlon Harewood will be hoping to retain a starting spot against the club he first joined as a trainee in the mid-1990s.
I was delighted with Marlon (against Bristol City), said Hughton. In all honesty, I made the decision to start him, but I didnt know if wed get a full 90 minutes out of him. He was still going strong at the end though, and I expect him to get stronger and fitter the more games he plays.