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Hughton backing Best to shine for Newcastle

CHRIS Hughton has backed Leon Best to shine against his former team-mates at St James' Park tonight when Newcastle take on Coventry but one of them in partciular is gunning for him - Gary Deegan means business, writes Paul Hyland.

Best has yet to score in three appearances and he signed for Hughton after a 12- game barren run which produced just one goal in a dozen games.

But Hughton expects his £2m signing to come good. "I see more development in Leon. He is a lad you need to get close to goal because he is a big, powerful finisher. He's at the right age to develop in a good team. That's something we've seen in him for a while.

"The most important thing when you bring in anyone is that they make a contribution.

"It can be around the place, improving morale in training and then doing it in games.

"Go back to the Cardiff game. Even though he didn't score, I thought it was a very good contribution and we scored three goals before he came off."

Deegan and Best's paths crossed briefly when the ex-Bohs midfielder signed for Coventry in Christmas.

"I am not going to hold back against Leon," he joked. "He has left the club and there are no hard feelings so hopefully I can show him one or two of my best. But it is all good banter."