Hughton - Smith staying put
Newcastle manager Chris Hughton insists Alan Smith will not be leaving despite a lack of playing time.
Last Updated: 20/11/10 12:34pm
Newcastle manager Chris Hughton insists Alan Smith will not be leaving the club in January despite a lack of playing time.
The former Leeds and Manchester United midfielder, who made the transition from striker, has only played four times in the Premier League for the Magpies this season.
Smith is set to feature against Bolton on Saturday as Joey Barton and Cheick Tiote are unavailable, and he will be chomping at the bit ahead of the Reebok Stadium clash.
With Blackburn and Stoke reportedly keen on taking him away from St James' Park when the transfer window opens, speculation has mounted that his Toon career is coming to an end.
However, Hughton wants to keep hold of everyone in the squad as he does not expect to have money to spend on new talent.
"It is even more important now that we do not lose players. I do not anticipate anyone coming in when the transfer window opens in January and, if that is the case, I do not want anyone going out," he told the Daily Express.
"Alan is certainly in contention to play against Bolton. He has been a fantastic player for us and, irrespective of whether he is playing or not, he's a good player to have around.
"It is always difficult for a player who is not playing when he is used to playing and Smithy is no different.
"It is never an easy time but that is the nature of the game."
Midfielders Barton and Tiote have been in impressive form this term and their excellent performances have left little room for Smith.
Ivory Coast battler Tiote in particular has been a revelation on Tyneside, having arrived at Newcastle in the summer from FC Twente.
Hughton admits that he understands Smith's frustrations, but says his lack of pitch time is due to the talent in the squad.
He added: "We have a competitive squad and the fact he has been left out underlines how well Cheick Tiote has done. Smith understands that.
"He is very conscious of the spirit we try to work on here and he is very much part of that. Smith did very well when he played at the start of the season."