Hughton relishing Newcastle return

Chris Hughton. Photograph: Paul Hazlewood
Chris Hughton. Photograph: Paul Hazlewood
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Chris Hughton is looking ahead to making just a third return to former side Newcastle United on Saturday.

The Brighton boss guided Newcastle to promotion from the Championship back in 2010 as they sealed a Premier League return at the first time of asking.

Unbeaten Albion travel to St James’ Park in good form, sitting second in the league and they are still yet to taste a defeat this season.

But having managed there before, Hughton is all too aware of Newcastle’s qualities and the test his team will face.

He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them. It was a very good staff, a very passionate club and all the people that work around the club are all mad Newcastle supporters as well.

“It’s one that you look forward to but I think it’s also a club and a stadium that I think graces this division.

“I think most teams will look forward to going to them but in other ways it will be a little bit daunting for everybody because they are a team that will be up there come the end of the season.”

Brighton have been boosted with the news Newcastle strikers Dwight Gayle and Alexander Mitrovic have both been ruled out of Saturday’s encounter.

Despite those two missing, Hughton believes whoever Magpies boss Rafa Benitez brings in will be a handful for his defenders.

He added: “I was a little bit surprised because I know the comment after their most recent match was that they would both be available. A little bit surprised with that but it does not really alter too much and still makes it as difficult game as it was.

“They can afford to have the squad that they have had and they have recruited very well, so whatever team or formation will be strong.”

With the summer transfer window closing on Wednesday, Hughton admits he may well do some business before the door slams shut.

Brighton’s boss said: “Hopefully we’re not too busy because we don’t need to do too much. We will only do something if it is right for us and that’s whether it be in or out.

“A possibility could see a couple go out on loan but that’s only if we do some business and I’m not desperate for it.

“We’ve got a good competitive squad, players coming back from injury which adds to that but if we can finish the window having the best possible squad we can, then that will be a plus for us.”

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