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Newcastle boss Pardew reveals Ben Arfa injury 'not as bad as first feared'
Newcastle boss Pardew bullish ahead of Benfica clash

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Newcastle boss Pardew bullish ahead of Benfica clash

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has allayed fears over the fitness of winger Hatem Ben Arfa.

The 25-year-old was forced out of the 1-1 Europa League draw against Maritimo on Thursday at halftime with a hamstring problem.

Ben Arfa will miss the Premier League clash with Southampton at St Mary's Stadium on Sunday, but is expected to make a swift return, while injury doubts Papiss Cisse and James Perch are likely to be passed fit.

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

Pardew also suggested young striker Nile Ranger could be involved after an improvement in his attitude following a string of late appearances for training and disciplinary issues.

"Let's just say he's knuckled down," Pardew added. "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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