Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magpies Restore Feelgood Factor; Hughton Relishing Return to Top League

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magpies Restore Feelgood Factor; Hughton Relishing Return to Top League

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

CHRIS Hughton hopes to harness an entire city behind Newcastle United's bid to stay in the Premier League as he believes the football club have brought the feelgood factor back to Tyneside.

Although the recession continues to squeeze and financial uncertainty plagues most households, Hughton feels United's return to the top flight has restored battered pride and put an extra spring in people's step.

And it is this passion for the game and the club which could have a huge bearing on the Magpies' season as they prepare for Monday night's daunting trip to Manchester United.

Hughton is honest enough to admit his side will be fortunate to take anything from the game at Old Trafford, but he appears to be relishing Newcastle's new role as underdogs.

As the biggest club in the Championship, United were the scalp everyone wanted to take last term, but it was a test they passed with flying colours and Hughton is confident they will be a better set of players for it.

"I certainly hope we are a better team than we were when we last played Manchester United," said Hughton, who is likely to use a five-man midfield on Monday night with Andy Carroll playing as a lone striker.

"What we have had is a very successful team and from that there''s a feelgood factor. There''s a feelgood factor in the city regarding us going back to the Premier League. We know we''ve lost a lot of proven internationals from the last time we were here. But as I said, we''re still hoping to add players.

"And, what we do have that is different to two years ago, is players who have improved and developed over the last year. We just hope we can take that into the Premier League."

Hughton's stock has risen sharply at St James' Park over the last year because of the careful and, at times, sensitive way he led the club out of their relegation malaise. But there is no question the challenge of keeping Newcastle up this season will be just as tough - if not tougher - for a manager who has only been a permanent boss for ten months. …

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