Hughton coy over job rumours
CARETAKER Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has refused to be drawn on suggestions he could be installed on a permanent basis if the club is not sold. Rumours have been mounting in recent days that owner Mike Ashley, having yet to offload the club despite months of negotiations with potential buyers, could keep his powder dry and ask the former Republic of Ireland international to formalise his role. However, Hughton, as has been his style since he was asked to take temporary charge for the third time during the summer, was diplomatic when questioned about the speculation. He said: "It's a normal week, isn't It's something that I have very much got used to. "We know there is going to be something different in the papers every day. "But that's not the important thing, the important thing is, of course, being able to focus on football matches and up until this stage, we have very much been able to do that." It is understood five different consortia, one of them led by Tyneside businessman Barry Moat, have been in talks with the current regime in recent weeks, but that none has yet managed to strike a deal. Some of them have signalled their intention to install Alan Shearer as manager should their bid prove successful. However, the rumours about Hughton are perhaps not surprising with Newcastle three points clear at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship table heading into Saturdays trip to Nottingham Forest. That run of form, which has seen the club lose only one league game to date, has earned him two Manager of the Month awards. Hughton said: "It's nice. As with anything, any good publicity is always nice and flattering. "But the only thing we can deal with is facts. We are where we are and until we are told anything different, we crack on as per normal." But asked if management has become a more attractive proposition for a man who has made his name as a coach since his playing days came to an end, he replied simply: "Yes." Meanwhile, reports earlier this week have suggested that, should Ashley remain in control in January and should Hughton still be manager on whatever basis, there will be no cash to spend on players to further fuel what the Magpies hope will be a concerted promotion push. But the caretaker said: "All I have done is concentrate on the job I am doing. "There is so much done at a higher level and so much said about a different sale every week. You just can't get involved in that."
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