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Ben Arfa comeback put on ice

Published 21/02/2013 | 04:00

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew will not bring back Hatem Ben Arfa for the Europa League round-of-32 second leg clash with Metalist Kharkiv tonight.

The French midfielder, who has been out since December with a hamstring injury, is likely to return in Sunday's crunch Premier League match against Southampton.

"He looks short of match fitness, but we hope to get him up to speed perhaps for the next round, if we make it," said Pardew.

Having earned a 0-0 draw at St James' Park, Metalist are favourites, but manager Myron Markevich warned his players not to underestimate the Magpies. "Newcastle are a very good team and they shouldn't be in the position they are in," he said. "They should be in the top 10, minimum."

Metalist Kharkiv v Newcastle Utd,

Live, Setanta Sports 1, 6.0

Irish Independent

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