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Hughton sets Toon challenge

Chris Hughton starts his first season as a top flight manager
Image: Hughton: Wants more of the same

Chris Hughton has challenged his Newcastle players to maintain the feel-good factor.

Newcastle boss eager to maintain winning habit

Chris Hughton has challenged his Newcastle players to maintain the feel-good factor as the Magpies aim to re-establish themselves in the Premier League. Newcastle slumped to relegation in 2008/09 after a run of 16 years in the top flight but bounced straight back by winning automatic promotion. The Magpies romped to last season's Championship title, racking up 90 goals and 102 points, and they have maintained that momentum with a positive start on their Premier League return. Although they lost their opener at Manchester United, Hughton's men then thumped Aston Villa 6-0 at St James' Park before claiming a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Wolves last time out. An inexperienced Newcastle side also won at Accrington Stanley in the Carling Cup and Hughton stressed how important it is to keep that winning mentality and avoid the drama that blighted their last top-flight campaign. "Anyone who has been involved in football a long time knows what being used to winning football matches can do to a team and a club," he said.

Stability

"It is going to be more difficult to get that sort of feel and the stability it gives you in the Premier League because it is a more difficult league. But our aim is to become a fixture in this league. "We have started well enough and there is a good feel around the place, probably because of the way we have gone about our business in the last three games." Newcastle host Blackpool on Saturday in their second home game since returning to the top flight. Blackpool upset the odds to follow Newcastle to promotion via the play-offs despite losing 4-1 on Tyneside in April. And Hughton is wary of the Seasiders after they won 4-0 at Wigan on their Premier League bow while Ian Holloway's men also inflicted the first of Newcastle's four league defeats last September. "Blackpool was probably our poorest away performance last season," he said.
Cautious
"We lost there and probably on another day, would have lost more heavily than we did. They were a very, very good team on that day and there were signs that they might be a team that might get promotion - and of course, they did. "They are a dangerous opponent, and an awful lot of that stems from the manager. He not only wants them to do themselves justice, but he wants them to play a certain way." The manager added: "There will be times in the game when we will have to be cautious - after all, they are a team which was capable of going away from home and scoring four goals - but we are in a confident mood right now."

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