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By ESPN Staff

Hughton shrugs off Barton bust-up claims

Newcastle United caretaker manager Chris Hughton refused to discuss reports of a training-ground bust-up involving Joey Barton after he was left on the bench for Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

The controversial midfielder is alleged to have been involved in a spat with Argentinian team-mates Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini, in which Hughton became involved, before walking out of training.

Barton did come off the bench late on in the Magpies' Coca-Cola Championship opener at The Hawthorns, in which Damien Duff earned a point by cancelling out Shelton Martis' first-half effort.

And Hughton said: "Joey was part of the squad that travelled with us. There are decisions that have to be made, my decision was to go with two big lads up front for tactical reasons."

Asked how Barton took the decision to be named among the substitutes, he replied: "He took it the same as everybody, everybody wants to play. He was disappointed but that's the decision I made."

Young reserve goalkeeper Tim Krul proved the unlikely hero with a string of second-half saves after first choice Steve Harper received a blow to the head trying to prevent Martis' goal.

Hughton said of the 21-year-old Dutchman: "He was certainly busier than what we would have liked him to be but I thought he was excellent. In particular I thought two saves that he made were absolutely top class.

"We always knew it was going to be very tough. For us to come here and get a draw, it's a good point."

Cardiff marked the opening of their new stadium with a 4-0 thumping of newly-promoted Scunthorpe, Michael Chopra grabbing a brace and Jay Bothroyd and Peter Whittingham also netting.

Bluebirds boss Dave Jones, though, was not getting carried away.

He said: "We rode our luck in the opening quarter but after that we played some good football and the team as a whole played well.

"It was a case of making sure we kept them out in the second half but, with all the debutants playing well, to start the season with a 4-0 win in a new stadium was outstanding for our supporters."

For Iron boss Nigel Adkins it was an expected reality check following their return to the second tier.

"We were given a hiding but the players must respond in the right way," he said. "We know we need to defend much better but it would have been a big shock if we had taken anything from this game, which gave our players a real welcome to the Championship."

Leicester made a much better start to life back in the Championship as they came from behind to beat Swansea 2-1, and manager Nigel Pearson immediately declared their intention to mount a promotion challenge.

Ashley Williams opened the scoring but Martyn Waghorn's deflected shot levelled matters and new Foxes signing Dany N'Guessan netted the winner.

Pearson said: "We expect big things from ourselves this year, but you have to say there must be a dozen clubs who think they've got a chance to be in the mix at the end of the season. The fans expect us to have a good season, and I do as well."

It was Clough v Ferguson at Pride Park as Darren's Peterborough visited Nigel's Derby, and it was the hosts who came out on top.

A Miles Addison opener for the Rams was cancelled out by George Boyd's penalty but Gary Teale grabbed a late winner.

The result, though, has not affected Ferguson's belief he can take Posh to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

"Once we start believing in ourselves we can definitely compete at this level," he said. "There is no point going into a league thinking you are going to make up the numbers. We have to believe we can get to the Premier League."

All the other matches in the division yesterday finished level, with Reading and Nottingham Forest drawing a blank while Watford and Doncaster and Crystal Palace and Plymouth finished 1-1.

There was the same score at Loftus Road, where new Blackpool manager Ian Holloway was denied a win against his old club, while Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley drew 2-2.

Comeback of the day came at Deepdale, where Preston trailed Bristol City 2-0 with eight minutes remaining but fought back to snatch a point.


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