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The 25-year-old has not travelled to Ukraine with the rest of the Magpies squad and sits out the last-32 second-leg tie along with Italian full-back Davide Santon

Hatem Ben Arfa has not travelled with Newcastle's squad to face Metalist Kharkiv in their Europa League last-32 second-leg clash.

The France midfielder has been sidelined since December through injury and has resumed full training following a bout of illness but did not board the flight to Ukraine and will have to support his team-mates from Tyneside.

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Despite the Magpies' struggles in the league this season, that sees them currently sitting just four points above the bottom three, the 25-year-old has called on his colleagues to make a good go of their continental commitments.

"The Europa League is very important for us," Ben Arfa told the Shields Gazette.

"If we qualify, it will be a very good thing for the club. I think we can go far in this cup."

The tie remains delicately poised after a goalless stalemate at St James' Park in the first leg, with Papiss Cisse having two goals ruled out for offside.

And after a relatively forgettable campaign, Ben Arfa revealed that finishing the season strongly is the priority.

"The most important thing is the Premier League – we have to finish higher," he added.
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