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Ben Arfa in doubt for City clash

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has revealed midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is a major doubt for his side’s clash with Manchester City on Saturday.

The Frenchman is struggling with a hamstring injury he picked in the Magpies’ 2-1 defeat to Fulham in the Premier League on Monday, in which he scored a brilliant long-range effort.

Pardew has bemoaned the options City have at their disposal compared to his squad, admitting he is more or less down to the bare bones.

“(City) can call on five, six or seven top, top, international flair players and we probably have three, so we are on a knife edge when they are fit and when they are not fit,” Pardew said.

“For this game we have a bit of a concern over Hatem and whether he will be available. His hamstring has a little bit of a problem and we’re still trying to get to the bottom of that.”

Pardew admits he will look to strengthen his squad when the transfer window reopens in January as he feels injuries to key players have left him with little depth.

But the 51-year-old believes he has the full backing of owner Mike Ashley to spend cash as he sees fit in the New Year.

“On our side we look weak with the injuries we have sustained and we may need to bring in a player or two,” he said.

“We are in the market, as I’m sure a few other clubs will be.

“Mike has been very supportive and I want to look him in the eye with great results under my belt, but at the minute I can’t. I’m looking at him in the eye and I’ve got tricky results.

“He understands that and has been very supportive and now we look to the window hopefully and we may need some assistance in that but we will see.

“It would be nice to get one or two back, Steven Taylor and Yohan Cabaye around our first team, and hopefully bring one or maybe two players in the window if we can.

“We’re a good side that is under-performing and there are reasons for that but we can’t accept that. We have to work and we are working as hard as we can to turn the situation in our favour.”

Thu 13 December, 2012
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