Newcastle United Vs Fulham, Sat 13 Nov 2010

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Chris Hughton admits Newcastle's home form is keeping him awake at night.

The promoted Magpies currently sit in fifth place in the Barclays Premier League table having made a hugely encouraging start to life back in the top flight.

However, they have already lost three times at St James' Park in six outings, and to Blackpool, Stoke and Blackburn, all sides they would have targeted before the campaign got under way.

Indeed, their lofty position is due in large part to a remarkable record on the road, where they have already beaten Everton, West Ham and, to the surprise of many last Sunday, Arsenal.

Their difficulties at St James' Park are all the more confusing as they trounced Aston Villa 6-0 first time out and after slipping up against Blackpool and Stoke and only avoiding a repeat against Wigan at the death, routed arch-rivals Sunderland 5-1.

Hughton knows that is a situation which has to be remedied quickly if the early momentum is to be maintained, and he will hope to head for his bed on Saturday night with three more points safely banked.

He said: "All managers lose sleep, it's part and parcel of the job and part and parcel of the contract, I think.

"But the important thing is you try not to ponder too much on what is the past and rather how you can affect the future.

"We have an issue we have to address at home and that's what you need to concentrate on.

"Amongst all of that, there have probably been more positives than negatives and what we have to do is keep as many positives as possible and learn from the negatives."

Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton will start his three-match ban.

The 28-year-old accepted his suspension after admitting a Football Association charge of violent conduct.

Manager Chris Hughton has been dealt a further blow by the absence of Ryan Taylor, who would have been one of the candidates to replace Barton, with an ankle injury.

Shola Ameobi will undergo a late fitness test of the hamstring he damaged during the midweek defeat by Blackburn, while James Perch will hope to shake off an ankle problem and Leon Best (also ankle) is back in training.

Steve Harper (shoulder), Hatem Ben Arfa (double leg fracture) and Dan Gosling (knee) remain on the casualty list.

Fulham have no fresh injury concerns for the clash

Mexican defender Carlos Salcido remains sidelined for more than a fortnight with ankle ligament damage.

The Cottagers will also be missing defender Chris Baird (thigh) but he could return for next weekend's match against Manchester City.

Manager Mark Hughes has backed the ultra-competitive Brede Hangeland to put the brakes on Andy Carroll at St James` Park.

Carroll has taken the top flight by storm since the Magpies' promotion and his seven goals in 12 games look set to earn him a maiden call-up to the England squad for Wednesday's friendly with France.

The 21-year-old has netted in his last two outings and his final chance to impress Fabio Capello and his staff comes on Saturday.

But Hangeland will be no pushover, having just managed to keep Didier Drogba quiet in Fulham's 1-0 west London derby defeat at Chelsea on Wednesday night.

And manager Hughes has revealed just how much the 29-year-old hates to lose.

"He is very disappointed when he loses games, as we all are, even if he loses challenges or five-a-sides on training fields," Hughes said.

"There is the same intensity to his work.

"He wants to work hard for the team and that inner drive is what you want to see in players."

However, Hughes knows Hangeland cannot keep Carroll quiet for 90 minutes unaided.

"Obviously, we are aware of the areas that Andy Carroll likes to attack, so hopefully we can actually stop the source to him," he said.

"But that is not easy to do on every occasion so, when the ball is played into our box, we want the likes of Brede to challenge and show his strength in the air as well."

Despite his on-field exploits, it is Carroll's off-field activities that have seen the striker hit the headlines for the wrong reasons this season.

Hughes is therefore ambivalent about the prospect of an England call-up for the Newcastle number nine.

He said: "You have to say issues around his life may cloud the clearness of that decision but, in football terms, he deserves a call-up."

In stark contrast, Hughes was unequivocal about the job done by opposite number Hughton, who has still to be offered a new contract to replace the one that expires in the summer.

"I think everyone in football is surprised he has not been offered a new contract," he said.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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