Hughton amused by Carroll exit talk
Carroll has in recent days been linked with a big-money move to White Hart Lane in January after a fine start to life back in the Premier League. However, Hughton who handed the 21-year-old the coveted number nine shirt following his 19-goal contribution to last season's promotion campaign, has told the Londoners not to bother bidding. He said: "Amused is probably the right word - I thought the window had closed. "Of course, I have heard the speculation and it is probably testament to him and the season he has had so far, albeit we are only four games in. "He has started the season very well and with any player who is doing well, you expect some speculation. "But from our point of view, there is absolutely nothing in it - and we don't want there to be either." Carroll impressed playing as a lone strike in a 3-0 defeat at Manchester United on the opening weekend of the season, before announcing his return to the top flight in style with a hat-trick in a 6-0 rout of Aston Villa the following weekend. His equaliser at Wolves six days later took him into the joint lead in the division's scoring stakes to mark him out as a genuine threat. He was successfully becalmed by Blackpool, and particularly goalkeeper Matt Gilks, last weekend but Carroll will hope to get back on the goal trail at Everton on Saturday. The fixture sees midfielder Joey Barton return to his home city hoping to let his football do the talking. Huyton-born Barton, of course, ended up in jail after an incident in Liverpool city centre in December 2007, and on the pitch, was red-carded at Anfield on his last top-flight visit in May last year. However, the 28-year-old has worked hard both on and off the field to rebuild his career and has been one of the club's better players to date this season. Barton is sure to receive a hostile welcome - indeed, he has become used to that - at Goodison Park, but Hughton will have no qualms about including him in the squad. The manager said: "All we can do is judge Joey on how he is at this moment. "As with the whole of the team, it wasn't one of our better days on Saturday and it wasn't one of Joey's either. "But apart from that, he has had three very good games. We have to judge him on how he is now and at this moment, he is playing good football, he is fit and he is an important member of the team."