Lewis Dunk: Brighton boss says Newcastle link is 'speculation'

Eric Lichaj and Lewis Dunk
Lewis Dunk (right) came through Brighton's youth set-up

Brighton manager Chris Hughton has dismissed reports linking defender Lewis Dunk with a move to Newcastle United as "speculation".

"As far as I know, it is speculation. He is a good player and sometimes that will happen," Hughton told BBC Sussex.

"It is not the first time and it won't be the last. We can only deal with it that way as he is a Brighton player."

Last month the Seagulls rejected a £4m offer for Dunk from fellow Championship side Fulham, who the Sussex club face on Saturday.

Dunk was rested for Brighton's League Cup tie in midweek but is expected to return to the squad for their trip to Craven Cottage.

Hughton, who was in charge of Newcastle from the summer of 2009 until December 2010, is keen to hold on to the defender even if a Premier League club does put in a bid.

"What we want to be doing with our best players is keeping them, and doing whatever we can to put ourselves in the best position to do well this season," he said.

"Ultimately, with any of our players, it doesn't matter where the speculation comes from. We have to look after our best interests first."