Rotation policy is the way forward for United boss

13 February 2010 09:28
CHRIS HUGHTON has defended his decision to make wholesale changes to Newcastle United's starting lineup in the wake of the January transfer window.

Hughton signed six new players last month, and thanks to a combination of injury and personal managerial choice, the sextet all started the Magpies' last two matches.

The change appeared to work when Newcastle thrashed Cardiff 5-1 last Friday, but it unravelled four days later as a 3-0 defeat at Derby saw United relinquish their position at the top of the Championship.

Such inconsistency was uncommon when Hughton was naming a settled line-up in the first half of the campaign, but with the ravages of a long season beginning to catch up with members of his squad, the Magpies manager insists he was right to freshen things up.

We have had a very settled team but there had to be new additions to the squad, he said. Because of injuries, and because it's very difficult for players to play right the way through the season without dips in form, it's something we needed.

It's something everybody at this club wanted. We talked about wanting a squad big enough to take us through to the end of the season.

There's still quite some time to go and I'm quite sure there will be more ups and downs.

Peter Lovenkrands' role has been the subject of particularly intense debate this week, with the Denmark international having been consigned to the substitutes' bench for the second game in succession at Pride Park despite a 13-minute brace against Cardiff.

Lovenkrands has started just three of Newcastle's last nine league matches, but Hughton does not regard the striker as an impact substitute, rather than someone who is suited to kicking-off games.

Peter will be starting games, he said. It wasn't a difficult decision (on Tuesday).

I'd made the decision to start that way quite early.

Peter came on at the end against Cardiff once things had opened up a bit and was able to use his pace. But I made up my mind quite early that I wanted to go the way I started at Derby.

Peter is a valuable player for us and he will no doubt play a big part from now until the end of the season.

Whether he plays a prominent role at Swansea today remains to be seen, with Hughton poised to pack his midfield and name either Andy Carroll or Shola Ameobi as a lone centre-forward.

Newcastle travel to the Liberty Stadium on the back of six away games in all competitions without a win, and with promotion rivals West Brom sweeping all before them away from the Hawthorns, the Magpies' poor run on the road is beginning to become a cause for concern.

There's always a worry when you don't get the points you want to get, said Hughton.

But I think we're perhaps no different to anyone else we're playing in a very tough league and you know you're going to get some tough away games.

We know our home record is going to be better than our away record.

I can probably speak for every manager on that count.

But we now need to start picking up more points away from home.

Source: Northern_Echo