Newcastle ease Ben Arfa fears

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is hopeful that Hatem Ben Arfa will only be sidelined for a fortnight with a hamstring injury.

Last Updated: 23/11/12 at 13:23 Post Comment

Hatem Ben Arfa expected to be sidelined for only a short spell

Hatem Ben Arfa expected to be sidelined for only a short spell

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The Magpies midfielder limped out of Thursday night's 1-1 Europa League draw with Maritimo, but club medics are confident that he did not suffer a tear.

Ben Arfa will miss Sunday's Premier League trip to Southampton and next Wednesday's visit to Stoke, but Pardew is relieved that he will not lose the influential Frenchman for a long spell.

"It's not as bad as we feared, so I think a couple of weeks, but no more than that, hopefully," he said.

Striker Papiss Cisse was also withdrawn at St James' Park, but could recover from his thigh injury in time to face Saints, while winger Jonas Gutierrez and defender James Perch are also likely to be passed fit.

Young striker Nile Ranger has been welcomed back into the squad after Pardew was impressed with the striker's change in attitude.

"Let's just say he's knuckled down," he said. "I still think he owes us and I said that to him this morning, so I'm not saying anything that I haven't said to him personally.

"I think he owes us and now is the time to be humble, come in and play football and concentrate on football."

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e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

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arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

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e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

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