Ben Arfa out of Anzhi clash

Alan Pardew has confirmed the France international is now seeing a specialist after aggravating an ongoing hamstring complaint during last week’s draw in Russia
Hatem Ben Arfa will miss the home leg of Newcastle’s Europa League last-16 tie against Anzhi on Thursday night after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring problem.

The complaint is the latest setback in what has been an injury-hampered season for the Frenchman, with his last league performance coming in his side’s 2-1 loss to Fulham in early December.

Otherwise there are no fresh injury concerns, while striker Shola Ameobi is set to appear in his 50th European game for the Magpies.

“The team news is pretty good and we are pretty much there apart from Hatem,” Pardew told reporters.

“We can’t take any risks. He had a slight strain and we are just checking it is nothing more than that and I think that will be the diagnosis so the alarm bells are not ringing and he is not in a bad place with his psychology so I don’t think there is anything untoward in that."

The 26-year-old, who missed out on Newcastle’s win over Stoke at the weekend, fell victim to the infamous artificial pitch at the Dynamo Stadium, a surface that also claimed Anzhi star Willian after the playmaker fell awkwardly during a tussle with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
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Pardew added: “He is not going to make the game and we are trying to finalise the injury before he goes into squad again and he will see a specialist today who is looking at the injury and we will probably have more news at my next press conference.

“My reading with Hatem is that he is in a good place. He knows with the injury he sustained we have to be very careful of because more importance is his welfare going forward.”

Newcastle were resolute to hold Anzhi in tough conditions last Thursday and Pardew insists that his side must retain their focus and take advantage of St James' Park’s famous atmosphere if they are to triumph against Guus Hiddink’s side on Thursday.

“We are coming up against one of the best managers in the world over the last two decades and they have players who will cause us trouble. It is a great opportunity for us and we will try and take it,” he added.

“But it will be tough, make no mistake.

"But with the crowd behind us, I still have a strong feeling we can win and our fans on the back of three wins will enter the fans with a different agenda which will hopefully make the difference in the tie. We go into it full of confidence.”