Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has confirmed that Hatem Ben Arfa will miss the busy festive schedule as he continues to battle against the hamstring injury that has hampered him in recent weeks.
The 25-year-old started the season in superb form but has seen his match exposure wane in recent weeks due to the damage sustained in a Europa League clash against Portuguese outfit Maritimo.
Ben Arfa returned to first-team action against Fulham in the recent 2-1 defeat – scoring his team’s goal - but missed the 3-1 home loss to champions Manchester City after suffering a recurrence against the Cottagers, a knock that Pardew claims he will not risk ahead of a busy period of fixtures.
"There is a danger he could tear his hamstring," Pardew told reporters.
"If he did that he would be out for two or three months whereas if we do it the right way and be sensible about it, it may only be three weeks. And obviously that is the route we are going to take."
The defeat to City left Newcastle struggling in 15th position, just two points above the drop zone, but Pardew refused to be too downbeat on his side's chances of a return to form and highlighted a second-half fightback that threatened to see the home side steal an unexpected point.
"I was proud of my players second half," he continued.
"I thought we really came out with intent, didn't let the second goal knock us into negativity so there's a lot to lean on going into QPR.
"We've had some problems but it's about the next game in this business and the next game is QPR at home. We're going to be under pressure to win it but we're in good shape to do so I think because we gave a good account of ourselves."