Club Focus – Newcastle – Tough start to the week for Hughton following blows on and off the pitch

Following on from a disappointing result at the weekend against Wigan things have hardly improved off the pitch for Newcastle United. Striker Andy Carroll was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning following an alleged assault. Another blow came with the news that assistant manager Colin Calderwood was departing the club to take the vacant manager’s position at Hibernian.

Carroll was bailed at Tynedale Magistrates Court on Monday and as part of the conditions of his bail he will have to live with club captain Kevin Nolan. The case has been adjourned until January next year. Carroll has been no stranger to controversy in his relatively short Newcastle career with a number of off-the-field problems damaging his reputation. He is due in court next Monday following an alleged incident in a nightclub back in 2009. Last season he was also involved in a training ground bust-up with defender Steven Taylor. He has proved his worth to the club with a number of impressive displays both last season and in the first few games of this season. However a number of discrepancies away from the field of play are a headache manager Chris Hughton could do without.

As well as having to look after Carroll captain Nolan may face a battle to return to the first team. Hughton confirmed after the 2-2 draw with Wigan that Nolan had been rested for the game after suffering a number of injury knocks in the first few weeks of the season. He said: “I thought it would be better to give him a complete rest, and I am quite sure he will come back stronger and fitter. It’s my decision, first and foremost, on team selection. I felt it was an opportunity to change it and also an opportunity to give him a rest.” Hughton has proved that he is not afraid to drop any player who is under-performing and faces a number of tough selection dilemmas over the coming weeks. Nolan is a big character and personality in the dressing room who has proved his worth to the team since joining from Bolton in 2009. The biggest problem is finding a formation to accommodate the attacking midfielder.

Hughton’s right hand man Colin Calderwood has returned to his native Scotland to take charge at Hibernian after John Hughes was sacked at the start of the month. Hughton and Calderwood formed an effective partnership on Tyneside as they took charge of the club in one of its most difficult periods following relegation to the Championship. Calderwood had previous management experience at Northampton Town and Nottingham Forest which was no doubt important in assisting the inexperienced Hughton. In a statement released by the club Calderwood said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I’ve spent at Newcastle United. It has been fantastic to work alongside a brilliant manager in Chris Hughton, and with some great players at the club.” Hughton now faces a tough dilemma over who to bring in as an assistant with an experienced Coach many fans’ choice to replace Calderwood.

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