Hughton eyes Smith factor
Chris Hughton hopes Alan Smith's return can hand the club a timely boost in their bid to avoid the drop.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 10/03/09 6:31pm
Newcastle United caretaker manager Chris Hughton hopes Alan Smith's return from injury can hand the club a timely boost in their bid to avoid the drop.
Smith has made just two appearances for the Magpies - who currently lie a point above the relegation zone - this season after struggling with an Achilles problem.
The 28-year-old impressed in Newcastle's 2-1 loss to Manchester United earlier this month, and Hughton is backing the versatile attacker to prove a valuable asset between now and the end of the term.
He told the Evening Chronicle: "Coming into a game [against the Red Devils] of that magnitude speaks volumes for him.
"Alan is a player who can play off the front - of course, originally he was a forward player - but we have used him as a midfielder.
"He can give us a fit and enthusiastic body that's good around the place, and he also gives us valuable options.
"And that's at a time when we're going to need as many players fit and available as possible."