Newcastle Vs Norwich Preview: Hughton Will Have Norwich Bang Up For This

Chris Hughton was a gent until the end at Newcastle, but that wont stop him from making sure his talented Norwich side give it their all against Newcastle today...
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Chris Hughton was a gent until the end at Newcastle, but that wont stop him from making sure his talented Norwich side give it their all against Newcastle today...

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Newcastle Vs Norwich Preview: Hughton Will Have Norwich Bang Up For This

Chris Hughton returns to St James’ Park for the first time since November 2010, and he’ll no doubt be aiming to keep his 100% record in tact. Incredible to think that for 15 months he spent in charge of he never once failed to react to the chant, “Hughton, gis a wave, Hughton, Hughton, gis a wave,” without a thumbs up or wave. I swear sometimes it was all he ventured into the technical area for.

In all seriousness he should get a great reception before kick off on Sunday, he was faced with the thankless task of rallying a disenchanted squad to the Championship title in 2009 and keeping the board and fans happy in equal measure. I’ll never forget watching him desperately trying to keep a lid on his emotions as we put five past Sunderland at home. He recognised the importance of that game, going so far as ditching his tracksuit in favour of a smart suit and v-neck jumper combo.

He was an absolute gent and I was frankly embarrassed by the way the club disposed of him. I felt it was hasty and a big risk, but in hindsight the right decision. He must have felt hugely betrayed by Llambias and Ashley but didn’t make a song and dance, simply packed up and left, not before releasing a statement thanking the fans. A class act to the end.

Hughton will have his players up for this one big time

I think the way things finished for him on Tyneside make his Norwich side a threat on Sunday, he will have his players up for this one big time. He’ll be shaking hands with John Carver before kick off, as Pardew is confined to the stands, completing his two-game touchline ban.

An admirable performance from the team in Maderia on Thursday– after a great point at Everton that Pardew described as a “season changer”, suggests that picking up points playing Thursday / Sunday football is not an insurmountable task. The point at Everton was particularly pleasing given the current queue for the NUFC treatment table: no Krul, Coloccini, Tiote, Simpson or Ryan Taylor. I’d be surprised if any of them figure this weekend.

One man you’d expect to start is Demba Ba, rested (or dropped depending on who you speak to) for Everton, his 45 minute shift at Goodison on Monday was superb but his comments after the game raised an eyebrow. "I was very determined, because lately I have not been so happy with some things. Some things have been going on. When I got my boots on, I couldn’t wait.” Surely he can’t expect to play every game? Especially when we’ve got a European campaign to consider, even Man United rest Robin Van Persie from time to time. Don’t forget Ba is also the man with a knee that defies medical science!

 Given the season we were treated to last year Newcastle are now expected to win these games comfortably

I expect the back four to remain unchanged which is a slight worry given that this will be their third game in seven days, with Man United away in the League Cup on Wednesday. We just don’t have options at the back like we do in the other positions.

To trott out a well-worn cliché, there are no easy games in the Premiership and I expect to see this demonstrated on Sunday. I thought Norwich looked excellent at Spurs, they played with no fear and, looking at their next fixtures, they could really do with some points this weekend, with Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal coming up.

Given the season we were treated to last year Newcastle are now expected to win these games comfortably but as we saw when we played Villa at home earlier in the month, it’s never that simple.

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