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Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 14:40 UK

Hughton fearful of player sales

Chris Hughton
Hughton expects to be in charge when the new season starts

Newcastle caretaker manager Chris Hughton fears more players could leave St James' Park while the sale of the club drags on.

Obafemi Martins became the first player to be sold by United this summer when he joined Wolfsburg last week.

Defenders Sebastien Bassong and Habib Beye have also been heavily linked with moves away and Hughton says he cannot rule out more departures

"Possibly we might end up losing one or two more," he said.

"Where we are at the moment, there's always going to be speculation about the players."

Bassong was missing from the squad that travelled to Dundee United for the club's final pre-season friendly on Sunday, amid strong rumours he was set to join Spurs.

I've been asked to perform a role and the general consensus is that once a takeover is in place, a new manager will come in

Chris Hughton

However Hughton admitted he was unaware of the stories linking the Frenchman with a move to London and his absence from yesterday's game was purely tactical.

He said: "What I saw on the television (about Bassong) was the first I knew of that.

"It was always my intention not to play Bassong because he's suspended for the first game of the season and we had to make sure that the team performing today was without him.

United start the new Championship season at West Brom on Saturday, with Hughton, assisted by Colin Calderwood, set to be in charge of the team.

But the former Spurs coach says he is happy to remain in caretaker charge of the Magpies until the ownership of the club is resolved.

"Everybody is aware the owner is trying to sell the club," he added.

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"We know it could be any day. We're hoping, of course, the sooner the better - then everybody can get on with their roles and know where they stand.

"But until we're told otherwise, all we can do is do the job we're doing at the moment and prepare the team for what's going to be a very tough campaign.

"I've been asked to perform a role and the general consensus is that once a takeover is in place, a new manager will come in.

"But until that does happen I've got to work with this group of lads - and at the moment they're a very spirited group of lads."



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