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Page last updated at 21:09 GMT, Saturday, 23 October 2010 22:09 UK

Chris Hughton stands by Newcastle striker Andy Carroll

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Hughton stands by striker Carroll

Newcastle manager Chris Hughton said it had always been his intention to play Andy Carroll against West Ham despite the striker's off-field problems.

The 21-year-old, who appeared in court on assault charges on Monday, set up Newcastle's equaliser before scoring the winner in a 2-1 away victory.

Hughton said: "I was always going to make the decision on football reasons.

"The best place for him to be is on the football pitch producing what he produced [on Saturday]."

Carroll, who has also been ordered, as part of his bail conditions, to live with Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan until his next court appearance in January, was a constant threat at Upton Park.

He set up Nolan's first-half equaliser with a nod down from a Joey Barton cross and Carroll headed in the winner when another Barton centre found him unmarked eight yards from goal.

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"He's still developing and he's going to have his ups and downs but he did well," Hughton continued.

"He didn't have to repay anything to us. He's a young lad and he's learning the game. He's not the finished article yet.

"It's been a tough week for us but what we do have in this camp is a lot of character, a lot of spirit.

"The more we seem to be tested, they seem to come up trumps. I thought they were excellent.

"In the early part of the game it looked like it was going to be a tough day but we stuck at it and deservedly won the game."

Turning his thoughts to Newcastle's next two games, which are both at St James' Park, Hughton added: "It's a big and exciting week coming up.

"We've got the Carling Cup quarter-final [against Arsenal on Wednesday] and then derby game [against Sunderland] next Sunday."

For West Ham manager Avram Grant it was more a case of what might have been after they dominated the opening exchanges and took the lead.

Grant disappointed to let lead slip

However, they were outplayed after scoring and after spending a prolonged period in the dressing room with his players and coaching staff, Grant conceded: "In the second half they were better than us.

"I'm disappointed because we started well and we knew what they were going to do with two tall physical strikers.

"We knew that the target was to close the ball but we didn't do it."



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