Hughton expects Kinnear contact

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Chris Hughton anticipates Joe Kinnear will be in regular contact throughout his enforced break and expects to hear from the Newcastle manager in the hours after his triple heart bypass surgery on Friday.

The Magpies revealed on Thursday that Kinnear requires the operation after being taken ill last Saturday prior to the 3-2 victory over West Brom.

Hughton and Colin Calderwood were in charge as the Magpies ended a winless run of eight matches and will remain in temporary control but Hughton told Sky Sports News: "I'd imagine at the first available time he'll be ringing up and, of course, as we go into our next game against Everton, I would imagine that as soon as he can after that he'll be on the phone."

Hughton, however, does not believe the latest setback in Newcastle's season of woe will unduly trouble the players, who have already had to deal with Kevin Keegan's resignation and owner Mike Ashley's subsequent decision - one he later retracted - to sell the club.

"It is very much a personal thing with Joe; the lads are very fond of him," added Hughton.

"But with what we've been through this season they're used to refocusing on what they have to do - training, playing games and, more importantly, trying to win football matches."

Kinnear is also set to miss the March encounters with Bolton, Manchester United, Hull and Arsenal, as well as the April meeting with Chelsea, with his earliest likely return the April 11 fixture with Stoke.

Newcastle are 13th in the table but just four points above the relegation zone and Hughton knows the difficulty facing his side in the absence of Kinnear.

"The only objective at the moment is focusing on these tough games," he added. "They're all tough games, particularly in the position we're in.

"There are difficult away games at Bolton and Hull but we can only look after the first game and that's at home to Everton, who are a very good side away from home."

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West Bromwich Albion
Stoke City
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Newcastle United
Manchester United
Hull City
Kevin Keegan

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