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Hughton deserves applause - Harper
Published : 22 Sep 2012 13:47:59
Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper has hailed former boss Chris Hughton for the part he played in rekindling the club's fortunes.
Hughton stepped into one of the most challenging jobs in football after Newcastle's relegation, but he helped the Magpies return to the top flight at the first attempt. He will be back on Tyneside on Sunday for the first time since his departure in December 2010, this time as manager of Norwich.
"He did a fantastic job here and I am sure the fans will reflect that by giving him a fantastic ovation on Sunday up until kick-off, and then as soon as kick-off comes they will be desperate for three points," Harper said.
Hughton was surprisingly shown the door at Newcastle with the club hierarchy unconvinced that he could take the club to the next level.
What is not in any doubt, however, is that current boss Alan Pardew has indeed taken the Magpies forward, as last season's fifth-place finish, which earned their return to European action, demonstrated.
Harper said: "The manager [Pardew] has given credit to Chris in the past, and rightly so.
"But since the gaffer has come in he recognised the ethos and beliefs of everyone at Newcastle United, which was probably summed up on Monday night by making a very positive substitution at 1-0 down at Everton.
"That's what the fans want to see Newcastle United teams doing. The manager recognises that and that's why they really appreciate the fantastic job he is doing."
Pardew will restore his big guns to the starting line-up after making seven changes for Thursday night's game in Madeira, and that is likely to mean returns for the likes of Harper, Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba.
Midfielder Cheick Tiote could also return to the squad after recovering from the calf problem he picked up on the opening day of the season, although Pardew is unlikely to risk him unless it is absolutely necessary.