• Premier League

Hughton welcomes back Clattenburg

ESPN staff
November 26, 2012
Mark Clattenburg has not refereed a match since taking charge of Chelsea v Manchester United in October © Getty Images

Norwich City boss Chris Hughton believes referee Mark Clattenburg will deal with the added pressure of making his return to the centre when the Canaries take on Southampton on Wednesday night.

Clattenburg is set to take charge of his first match since the controversy sparked by accusations made against him in the wake of Chelsea's Premier League defeat by Manchester United in October.

Clattenburg was accused of directing racially abusive comments at Blues midfielder John Obi Mikel, but was later cleared by both the Police and the Football Association.

While the 37-year-old was not officially suspended by Professional Game Match Officials Board, he decided jointly with referees' chief Mike Riley that he should not be in charge of matches while the cases against him were still open.

With the cases now dropped, Clattenburg returned as a fourth official for Tottenham's 3-1 win against West Ham on Sunday, and will return to the centre of the action when he takes charge of Southampton v Norwich on Wednesday before officiating Arsenal v Swansea on Saturday.

And Hughton has backed Clattenburg to deal with any added pressure his new profile carries on his return at St Mary's.

"I for one am pleased he is back after all that happened. He will be very well received," Hughton told BBC Radio Norfolk.

"I think everyone will be delighted to see him back but there's no pressure. Referees are the same as players and managers, we're all under pressure in these games and he's an experienced referee.

"The only pressure he'll be under will be from making the right decisions but they go through that every game. It's not a game on television. So the spotlight will just be from within."

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