Hughton wants Taylor to stay put
CHRIS HUGHTON has reassured Steven Taylor that he has a vital part to play for Newcastle United this season, despite failing to find a solution to his ongoing contract wrangle. Taylor has been on the transfer list since August after talks over extending his existing deal broke down over terms. The defender is due to return to training with the first team next week after recovering from a dislocated shoulder suffered in the pre-season friendly at Carlisle. He is by no means certain of his place in the team, with Sol Campbell currently playing the support role to Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson at the heart of the defence. Hughton, who accepts that owner Mike Ashley could be forced to sell in January if a suitable offer arrives for a player who is out of contract next summer, is more than happy to play Taylor in the Premier League this season. Hughton said: What will happen in the future I don't know, but for me at this moment he's very much part of the squad and I want him fit and available for selection. I'd like him for the rest of the season. Taylor was submitted to the Premier League as part of Newcastle's squad at the end of August so is clearly still in the manager's plans. And on the back of Andy Carroll committing to a new five-year contract last week, Hughton would like to see Taylor follow and agree what has been offered at St James' Park. But the dispute between the Taylor camp and the Newcastle boardroom has increased the chances of him moving on, either in January or at the end of the campaign. Taylor would prefer to stay at the club where he has been attached since his Academy days. It is not too long ago that he was hailed as a candidate to become an integral part of the England senior squad, but now such talk is centred on team-mate Carroll. Hughton still thinks Taylor can return to such heights. He said: I'm not aware of any progress at the moment (on talks). We still very much want him at this football club. We're looking at him training next week. He needs to get fit. We're aware of what a very good player he is. He's still in some ways a youngish man. He was only playing in the Under-21s until recently, performing very well. Once he's back to fitness he very much puts himself back in the frame to play and when that's the case he's a very good player. In Taylor's absence, Campbell remains the only experienced contender to replace Coloccini at the heart of the defence should he fail to recover from the groin problem he picked up at Manchester City. However, Coloccini has progressed well and is in line to return so Hughton looks set to name Campbell on the bench again.
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