Hughton lays down the law for Carroll


Soccer:Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has ordered striker Andy Carroll to concentrate on his football after he was fined for common assault.

The 21-year-old today pleaded guilty to the lesser charge — he had initially been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm — and was fined £1,000, ordered to pay nearly £1,500 in costs and £2,500 in compensation to victim Michael Cook.

The sentence brought an end to an unsavoury period in the England under-21 international’s career, and Hughton is hoping he can put it all behind him and do his talking on the pitch, as he did when scoring the winner in Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League victory at West Ham.

Hughton said: “We are all delighted with today, but what everybody wants to do is just get back to watching him do what he does best, as he did on Saturday at West Ham.”

It has been a difficult week or so for Carroll, who appeared in court last weekend charged with assaulting a former girlfriend — an accusation he strenuously denies — and then had his car burnt out on the driveway of team-mate Kevin Nolan’s home.

However, his contribution to Saturday’s much-needed victory earned him more appetising headlines, and while Hughton is keen to keep his feet firmly on the ground, he knows there is untapped potential in a man who has the opportunity to establish himself as a local hero.

The manager said: “We are very definite about what we say about him. He is still a young lad and he is still a young lad who has improvements in his game to make. We are conscious of not building him into something he isn’t at the moment.

“But he has wonderful potential and he is a young lad who is playing regularly now in the Premier League and if you are able to do that, you are able to make progress.”

Hughton is likely to leave Carroll out of Wednesday night’s Carling Cup fourth round tie against Arsenal as he makes full use of his squad ahead of the derby clash with Sunderland at the weekend.

In the meantime, he will be happy to leave him in the hands of skipper Nolan, with whom he is living under the conditions of his bail arrangements.

Hughton said with a smile: “Kevin looks after him very well. I think he arranges his supper at the right time and makes sure he is tucked up in very good time to get a full night’s sleep.

“If the two of them can continue to score the goals and put in the performances they did [on Saturday], then I am quite happy with the arrangement.”

Meanwhile, Hughton received a fresh boost today when central defender Steven Taylor returned to full training, although he is unlikely to make Sunday’s clash with the Black Cats.