ALAN Pardew has backed Chris Hughton to guide Norwich City up the table – but not at the expense of Newcastle United.
Hughton is under pressure at Carrow Road, with the Canaries having made a stuttering start to the season.
But Norwich came from behind to beat West Ham before the international break, boosting confidence for tomorrow’s trip to St James’s Park.
And Hughton, a hugely popular figure on Tyneside given the role he played in the Magpies’ revival after relegation to the Championship in 2009, is certain of a warm welcome.
“When a manager comes back who has been loved, like Chris, we should pay him our respects,” Pardew said. “Our fans will do that.
“The most important thing is that they back us. Regardless of how much they love Chris, it’s about us winning.
“Make no mistake, that will be my view on the sidelines.”
Pardew – who succeeded Hughton after his unjust dismissal three years ago – is wary of Norwich, a team he feels can “upset” any Premier League side.
“Chris is a great manager,” said Pardew. “They have a great spirit, which they showed in the second half (against West Ham).
“They’re a team that can really upset you. We’ve got to make sure we’re at the top of our game and defend very well. They’ve got a threat on the break.”
For his part, Hughton feels his players should be relishing the trip to St James’s Park as much as him.
“It is a wonderful stadium, and I would want every one of my players to look forward to going there,” said Hughton.
“It is an exciting place to go and try to win a football match.”
Norwich’s win over West Ham lifted them out of the Premier League’s relegation zone.
“We are not many points away from teams who are deemed to have had a good start to their season, so the margins are not so big,” he said.
“Now it is about picking up points.”