ALAN Pardew has called on Newcastle United fans to show their respect for Chris Hughton - then back his players to a win over his Norwich City side.
Hughton makes his first return to Tyneside since his sacking in late 2010 tomorrow.
And he is sure of a warm welcome, having guided the club out of the Championship.
Pardew paid tribute to the work his predecessor did when picking up a manager of the season award at the end of last season, and he believes Hughton deserves all the plaudits that came his way for the job he did on Tyneside.
However, Pardew is also determined that his Newcastle team inflict a defeat on Norwich, and he’s hopeful once supporters have showed their appreciation to Hughton, they get behind his players.
“On a professional level, Chris did a super job here,” Pardew said.
“I inherited a team with good belief and winning spirit.
“The decision was to go forward with somebody else, which was myself. I wasn’t party to that decision.
“Our fans will show good respect for him. They know he did a great job here. It’s not easy getting out of the Championship.
“I think, in the first five minutes, they should pay that respect to him, but then we’re going to need them to get behind us.
“I don’t want his name going round the stadium (all game) - I’m sure Chris might, but I don’t.
“We’ll get it out of the way and then get on with the game.
“It’s a big game for us - if we win, it would put us in the top eight.”
Long-serving Steve Harper, one of the survivors from the team which won the Championship, will be in goal after sitting out Thursday night’s goalless draw against Maritimo in the Europa League.
And Harper and a clutch of senior players, under Hughton’s astute stewardship, were pivotal to the club’s renaissance after the trauma of relegation.
“As well as Chris and his assistant (Colin Calderwood), there was Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton, Harps (Harper), Smithy (Alan Smith) and big Andy Carroll,” added Pardew.
“Trust me, that group of players got this club out of the Championship, and you’ve got to pay credit to those people.
“Also, to Mike Ashley - he left Chris with all the good players, and didn’t sell anyone. Fair play to him as well.”