St James’ Park star is ready for League Cup action.
Newcastle United midfielder Hatem ben Arfa will make another comeback from injury in tonight’s Carling Cup match against Nottingham Forest.
After almost 12 months on the sidelines, the 24-year-old will take to the field following his recovery from an ankle ligament injury.
The France international, who initially joined the Magpies on-loan from Marseille, made four senior appearances before suffering a double leg fracture from Manchester City’s Nigel de Jong.
Ben Arfa only managed a few minutes of the pre-season friendly at Sporting Kansas City before suffering the latest set back and manager Alan Pardew is glad to have him back.
The Newcastle boss hopes to use the playmaker just behind a main striker to help bring the best out of the Toon strikeforce.
“He will bring a creative force to the team that is different to what we have,” Pardew said.
“He is different to a lot of players in the Premier League. He’s elusive on the ball.
“What’s important for him is to make sure he grabs the work-rate that we have got in the team.
“If he grabs that, he’s got a good chance of getting into this team.
“We always factored Ben Arfa in, of course,” he added. “I don’t think that (the addition of another striker) would have affected him.
“He will have that number 10 role that Demba Ba did on Saturday and did very, very well for us, so that’s where he’s got good competition.”
Pardew will make changes for the game at Forest, but whether that means a break for Ben Arfa’s compatriot Yohan Cabaye remains to be seen.
The 25-year-old turned in perhaps his best performance to date for Newcastle at Aston Villa on Saturday, and was unfortunate not to open his goalscoring account.
But Pardew is convinced it will not be long before he does so.
“He will bring goals and assists,” Pardew predicted. “He got 14 two years ago and won the double last year with a lot of assists.
“He’s a great player, he’s just a good player.
“A couple of games passed him by because of the frantic energy of the Premier League, but he will get to grips with it.
“He is still working out his relationship with Cheick [Tiote], but that was better on Saturday and if we keep those two fit, we will win more games than we will lose.”