NEWCASTLE boss Chris Hughton will attempt to bring an “interesting” week to a rousing conclusion by masterminding a derby triumph.
The 51-year-old former Republic of Ireland international found himself at the centre of speculation that his time at St James’ Park could be drawing to a close, with several bookmakers suspending betting on his future just days ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly-anticipated clash with arch-rivals Sunderland.
Newcastle responded by insisting they intend to re-negotiate his contract, which expires in the summer, by the end of this calendar year, and it is a measure of the mutual respect between the Magpies’ boss and his Black Cats counterpart that Steve Bruce reacted to the saga with utter disdain.
However, the gloves will be off when the pair go head to head at St James’ Park with three points and local bragging rights up for grabs, and Hughton has a very definite scenario in mind.
He said with a smile: “It would be the perfect end to a very interesting week for me.
“I have been involved in big derby games throughout my career, but I am aware of what this means up here, and it is wonderful that we are in a position to be able to play this fixture because we weren’t able to play it last season.
“We have a home support that has been waiting for this one and we just hope the match lives up to the billing.’’
Hughton added: “My manager’s football head says at the end of the day, it is about three points.
“But I am also very conscious of where I am manager at this particular moment and what it means to the supporters, so of course it is more than that.
“It’s the game in the season that your supporters want to win the most. It gives those supporters the bragging rights for whatever period that is.
“I am very, very conscious of that and I am sure you will have two very, very committed teams trying to get a result for their club, and of course a result for the supporters.”
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