Pardew: Hughton deserves credit
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will welcome Chris Hughton back to Tyneside confident he has built upon his predecessor's good work.
The former Republic of Ireland international will return to St James' Park with his Norwich side on Sunday for the first time since he was shown the exit in December 2010.
In the eyes of many, that represented a harsh judgement on a man who
dragged them back from the brink of disaster following his arrival two summers earlier with the club in turmoil on and off the field following relegation.
Hughton won promotion at the first attempt and in the process, forged a dressing room spirit which remains intact today, and which was a key factor in the club's fifth-place finish in the Premier League last season.
Pardew, initially an unpopular choice as Hughton's replacement, made the most of his opportunity and said this week: "Both of us could probably look each other in the eye and say we have done a decent job at Newcastle - so far on my part.
"On his part now, he has a different agenda, a different project, and a tough one because Norwich second year in have not really had too much investment in the team - it's tough.
"But they have got some good players and had some great results last season.
"It's a game that for us would probably put us in the top eight if we won, and that's obviously where we want to be."
Hughton is certain to receive a warm welcome from fans who will be forever grateful for the job he did during one of the darkest periods of the club's turbulent recent history.
Pardew will be delighted if that proves to be the case, although asked if he would prefer his counterpart's return to end on a slightly less pleasant note in terms of the result, he replied with a smile: "Yes, unhappy on a professional level, that's all.
"He deserves it [a good reception]. I don't think there will be one fan who would begrudge singing his name, or whatever the fans decide to do.
"Certainly on my side, I said when I won my award at the end of the year that I found in here a winning spirit and a good organisation.
"Obviously, I wasn't party to why he was taken away from the job, I just did what I do when I arrived."
Pardew will hope to welcome striker Papiss Cisse back to the squad following the illness which kept him out of last night's 0-0 Europa League draw with Maritimo in Madeira, while midfielder Cheick Tiote has a chance of being involved for the first time since the opening day of the season, when he suffered a calf injury against Tottenham.
There are likely to be returns too for the rested Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez and Hatem Ben Arfa who has now served his European ban, and for striker Demba Ba.
Pardew will hope for more of the form the Senegal international showed after coming off the bench to score twice at Everton on Monday evening, but less of the type of comments surrounding his contractual situation which followed it.
If Ba and Cisse are paired up once again, they will be pushed all the way by 30-year-old striker Shola Ameobi, who wore the captain's armband in a much-changed side at the Estadio dos Barreiros and led by example.
Pardew said: "The other guys get all the headlines, but make no mistake, Shola is as good as them in my opinion, and he showed that last night.
"He was so unlucky not to score. Some of his work in and around the box was different class, and his attitude and application...
"He's a leading light for the team and that's why he was captain."