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The Toon stand-in boss is attempting to minimise the hysteria as relegation panic grows on the banks of the Tyne...

Newcastle United have endured a torrid season, both on the pitch and off it. With manager Joe Kinnear still recuperating from major heart surgery and not expected to return for at least another four weeks, his assistant Chris Hughton has been at the St James' Park helm, and he could be forgiven if he appeared much more stressed than he actually does.

Rather than panicking, the former Republic of Ireland international is putting on a brave face, and has spoken rationally and analytically today about what he hopes to achieve in a campaign that many Geordies probably wish could just end now.

With an in-form Arsenal due to visit Tyneside on Saturday, Hughton's task would not appear to be getting any easier, but he was positive when speaking to The Newcastle Chronicle earlier.

"It’s only normal and natural in the nine games we’ve got left that you look at games and think you’ve got better possibilities of getting points in some than others," he said.

"Part of the problem is that if you start going through everybody else and their games, you will end up driving yourself mad. We just have to concentrate on our own games and making sure we win enough of those games.

"You have to be calm and divorce yourself from the position you are in. You have to be aware of where we are and what is needed to get us out of it.

"It’s no good going into games at 100mph – then everything you’ve worked on goes out the window. So you have to bring yourself out of it. But every player knows the score.

"Psychologically, it’s already a blow to be where we are now. To be in the position we are in now is not very comfortable. We have to get out of it as quick as we can."

Zack Wilson,