Newcastle United 2 Doncaster 1: Chris Hughton ready to answer the call

26 October 2009 02:29
Just as the Manager of the Month award is still regarded as a curse,so the caretaker manager dreads the call to take the job full time.

Not so Newcastle's Chris Hughton, who has taken on the caretakertasks three times at St James' Park, enjoying the most success thisseason when he has led the club through turbulent waters to the top ofthe Championship, also winning one monthly award.

This week the man who spent more than a decade as No 2 withTottenham will accept Mike Ashley's offer to take the manager's jobfull time, provided the unpopular Newcastle owner continues to ignorethe chants from the stands and leave the club.

Focused: Newcastle United caretaker manager Chris Hughton

If Barry Moat's latest takeover offer is turned down, Hughton's appointment will be confirmed and the chances of a sale before New Year will diminish. Hughton has gamely ignored events above him so far and that won't change.

Hughton, who allowed his cool exterior to slip when he danced down the touchline to celebrate Kevin Nolan's 93rd-minute winner, is looking forward to being known as the manager of Newcastle United.

'I am massively proud,' he said. 'I know it changes things and there will be more pressure on me because the way people perceive a temporary manager and a permanent manager is different, but it will be an incredibly proud moment for me - as proud as any other moment in my career.

'This is a great football club. It gets under your skin massively. How many teams are going to play Doncaster, with respect to Doncaster, and have 43,000? If we manage to stay at the right end of the table, we will be approaching a full house.'

On the up: Newcastle's Kevin Nolan celebrates his goal with Nicky Butt (rop) and Danny Guthrie

The former Republic of Ireland defender insists the change of title alters nothing in the dressing room, which will be good news for senior players such as Nolan, Nicky Butt, Alan Smith and Steve Harper, who are exerting their influence on and off the field.

Sensing that the boardroom turmoil could harm their promotion chances, they have formed a solid alliance in a threadbare and stretched squad. Coca-Cola Championship Player of the Month Nolan, whose pinpoint long-range strike ended a run of four without a win, revealed that they have been going on poker and ten-pin bowling nights.

'We were thrown together in difficult circumstances,' he said.

'Ifwe all stick together and everyone knows we're pulling in the samedirection and getting behind each other, we'll only get one outcome.It's a massive part of us getting back to where we belong.'

Theystill put the home crowd through it. Newcastle were a distant second tothe well-drilled visitors before the break and fortunate that DeanShiels's well-worked goal was the only difference.

Even when Andrew Carroll made amends with a thumping left-foot volley from Danny Guthrie's measured cross, Newcastle diced with defeat when Ryan Taylor was penalised for handball from Shiels' header 15 minutes from the end.

Former Sunderland midfielder Martin Woods marred his excellent performance with a wild left-foot spot-kick wide and, despite Zurab Khizanishvili's late dismissal for grabbing Billy Sharp round the throat, Nolan clinched it with his seventh of the season.

Hughton said: 'I thought over the 90 minutes that, if there was a side that was going to win the game, I felt it was us but at 1-1 and, with the penalty, you think the worst. I am certainly relieved that it didn't go in.'

Doncaster manager Sean O'Driscoll added: 'Penalties will be scored and missed as long as there are football matches. There's no point hiding behind that.'

 Newcastle legend Alan Shearer admits he still wants to return as managerNewcastle 2 Doncaster 1: Nolan strike puts Magpies back on top

 Explore more:People:NICKY BUTT, Ryan Taylor, Kevin Nolan, Sean O'Driscoll, Danny Guthrie, Martin Woods, Mike AshleyPlaces:Newcastle, Republic of Ireland, St James' Park

Source: Daily_Mail