Chris Hughton will always get a warm welcome when he visits Tyneside.
The popular manager did a brilliant job in getting Newcastle instantly promoted as champions in 2009/10 with 102 points, despite Mike Ashley selling/releasing a host of players adn not giving Hughton any cash to spend.
Then on promotion, Chris Hughton was once again starved of funds (sounds familiar…), but achieved some brilliant results in beating Villa 6-0, Sunderland 5-1 and a 1-0 victory at Arsenal.
Yet despite being safely in mid-table Mike Ashley still sacked him, employing instead Alan Pardew who had recently being given the pus from managing in the third tier…only at Newcastle. Chris Hughton treated abysmally, just like any other decent person Mike Ashley accidentally employed.
On Saturday though, once the pleasantries have been taken care of, Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle fans will be desperate to beat Hughton’s side.
The Brighton boss has revealed on Thursday afternoon that they will be definitely missing Davy Propper on Saturday, whilst he also admitted that Gross, Stephens and Bong are all doubts as well.
Gross in particular would be a big loss for the visitors, scoring seven goals from midfield in his first Premier League season and the talented German player scoring the winner against Man Utd this season.
Currently, Newcastle are on two points and Brighton with eight, a win for Rafa Benitez and things suddenly Newcastle can start looking up. However, if Brighton get their first Premier League win in 18 away games, the gap between the two clubs would then be nine points and NUFC having every chance of starting to see the gap significantly widen between themselves and safety.
Chris Hughton gives pre-Newcastle United match press conference:
“Davy Propper will miss the game – he got an ankle injury in the last match. He’ll be out for a period of weeks. We’re not sure on the timescale at the moment.
“Gross and Stephens are back training with us and Bong is back with us but didn’t play on international duty – so they’re the three we have to make decisions on.
“We’ve given the players some time off – and we went into the break on the back of a good win.
“It’s been a nice feel this week but now it’s back to business at the weekend.
“The game will be another tough away match for us – we know it’s a challenge to do better away from home.
“We’re a side who were promoted the season before last and this is our second campaign in the league – every game is difficult away from home. The majority of teams we play have more experience in this division.
“I was delighted for Lewis Dunk on his England call up and for the football club – people here have all seen his progress and I was really pleased for them too.
“He would have enjoyed the experience as a whole and that’s great for both him and us. I’m sure he’ll be better for it.
“I think the team is more knowledgeable about the league this year and perhaps a bit more confident as well.
“We’ve recruited well and have good competition – we’ve shown resilience this term already.
“Beram Kayal has an opportunity now and he’s been very good recently. Credit to him because he’s been here for a while and he’s had to be patient last term. He’s in a good place at the moment.”
Chris Hughton on commentator Peter Brackley who recently died: “It’s a very sad loss – I got to know him over recent years and there was no doubt about how good he was. He was close to people here too – it was a sad day for all of us.”