CHRIS HUGHTON has revealed that Newcastle will be looking to make a number of permanent acquisitions when the transfer window reopens in January.
Peter Lovenkrands was the only player to sign a long-term deal at St James’ Park in the summer, with Danny Simpson, Zurab Khizanishvili and Marlon Harewood all subsequently joining the Magpies on loan.
Hughton can still make loan signings between now and the end of December, but with his caretaker arrangement set to become permanent, the Newcastle boss is already monitoring a number of targets with the January transfer window in mind.
“We can’t allow ourselves to go past January and miss out on opportunities to make this squad as strong as we can for the second half of the season,”
“Loans are something we’ll look at as we go along. At this moment, we’re looking at loan signings, but I need to find out if there will be money to spend in the January window, and whether that will be on loans or frees. That will also be dictated by the circumstances over the next few weeks.”
The last few weeks have exposed deficiencies in the Newcastle defence in the wake of injuries to both Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini.
Danny Simpson and Zurab Khizanishvili failed to form a watertight centre-half partnership in Tuesday’s defeat at Scunthorpe, but Hughton insists he has no intention of signing additional central defenders at the moment.
“It’s an area where we’ve been short in the last couple of games, but if I’m asked if we need to strengthen there, the answer is probably no,” he said. “We’ve got Coloccini back (today) and we’re looking at Steven Taylor for the game after that against Sheffield United.
“We think they’re both quality players and (with Khizanishvili included) we have the three centre-halves we want here, plus Danny Simpson who can play at centre- back and Tamas Kadar.
“Sometimes, you don’t want too many players in one position because you can only play one or two at a time. It’s something you’re always evaluating, but for most of this season we’ve coped.”
Newcastle are still to establish a first-choice attacking line-up, with Lovenkrands, Andy Carroll, Nile Ranger and Harewood all competing for a starting spot.
Harewood was dropped following a disappointing display in last weekend’s defeat at Nottingham Forest, but Hughton insists the Aston Villa loanee will have an important role to play between now and the end of his loan spell in late December.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for him,” he said. “That’s generally the case with loan signings, whether they’re a young player looking for experience or a player who is not playing in another club’s first team and is looking for an opportunity to show what they can do.
“Marlon appreciates the chance. He’s excited, he’s settled in very well with the group, and now the next part is to be playing regularly and scoring goals. He was disappointed with the decision to leave him (at Scunthorpe), but was fine.”