CHRIS Hughton will discuss Patrick van Aanholt’s future with Chelsea next week after claiming the full-back could yet remain at Newcastle beyond the end of his current loan spell.

Van Aanholt’s one-month stay at St James’ Park is due to finish after next weekend’s game at Watford.

With Ashley Cole expected to miss the next three months with an ankle injury, it had been thought that Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti would rebuff any attempts to extend the 19-year-old left-back’s spell in the North-East.

However, Hughton insists he is yet to discuss van Aanholt’s position with Chelsea, and claims an extension remains an option he will consider at the start of next week.

“Patrick has two games left and we have to make a decision about him,” said the Newcastle boss. “It’s not as simple as Jose (Enrique) coming back from injury and him going.

“Officially, his loan period finishes after Watford. We haven’t spoken to Chelsea about the loan situation yet, we’ve just spoken to them about his game and his performances.

“We will make decisions over the next week on how we address that situation. The loan period is for a month, but it can be extended. We haven’t spoken to Chelsea yet though, so we don’t want to jump the gun. We’ll assess that after the game this weekend.”

This weekend’s game pits Newcastle against a Preston side that have won just one of their last five matches.

The Magpies have lost just one of their last 20 league games, but while Preston shipped five goals at Derby in midweek, Hughton does not expect Darren Ferguson’s side to be pushovers.

“Preston have good attacking options,” he said. “Even though they suffered a heavy defeat at Derby in the week, they managed to score three goals, which was something we couldn’t do.

“We did ourselves no harm at all on Wednesday, but it’s still the case at the top where a couple of poor results can change things dramatically.

The onus is on us. We are at home and have to force the issue, but nobody comes to St James’ and allows us to have it easy.”

With no new injury problems and no players returning to fitness, Hughton could name a rare unchanged lineup this afternoon.

Leon Best is challenging Peter Lovenkrands for the right to partner Andy Carroll, while Alan Smith could oust Danny Guthrie from the central midfield position he filled against Coventry.

Jonas Gutierrez and Wayne Routledge are likely to start on the flanks as Newcastle look to replicate the open, attacking game they played against the Sky Blues, but while the Magpies faithful have been delighted with the return to an expansive style, Hughton has warned them not to expect two out-and-out wingers in every game.

“I’m keen to praise what we’ve done with the two wide players,” he said. “But I don’t want people to forget the contributions that went before that.

“That might have been one wide player, with someone like Danny or Ryan Taylor tucking in. Ryan’s been very unfortunate of late because he’s given us a real strong contribution for a big chunk of the season.

“Having two wingers is exciting when it works, but that’s not always going to be the case.

“I know that as soon as we get exposed, people will start saying we are a little bit too open. It’s good and exciting, but it won’t always be the case.”