Pardew to make late call on Ben Arfa fitness ahead of City clash
22:52 GMT, 14 December 2012
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew will make a late call on Hatem Ben Arfa's inclusion today.
The France international is still insisting he is not feeling the hamstring injury which forced him off at Fulham on Monday, although scans have revealed a potential problem.
Pardew, who is already without Frenchman Yohan Cabaye until the New Year, admitted he faces a selection dilemma for the visit of champions Manchester City this afternoon.
Rough patch: Things do not get any easier for Alan Pardew's struggling side as they face champions City
He said: 'It's a tricky one for Hatem, the doctor and particularly for myself. It's hard to know exactly where he is. We think he's got a problem but it's not reflected in him at the minute. It's an unusual situation. My gut feeling is that he won't be fit.'
Pardew meanwhile is still warning midfielder Cheick Tiote to curb his enthusiasm, and bookings, in the absence of key players like Cabaye, Ben Arfa and Steven Taylor.
The Ivory Coast international, who is up against fellow countryman Yaya Toure today, is one booking away from another suspension.
Ben Arfa scored against Fulham before a hamstring injury cut his game short
And Tiote admitted: 'We have so many important games coming up that I have to be a lot more careful and I have to play with more control.
'I try and play the same every week but sometimes when I am ready to go for the ball I have to be certain because if I am not 100 per cent I will get booked.
'It was different when I was in Holland – there is no way near as much physical contact. It's a different style and I prefer it in the Premier League. For me it's the best because it's more aggressive.
'The manager has told me if I am not 100 per cent certain , not to tackle. He's told me we have to try and keep all our players on the pitch. We need 11 v 11 if we are going to win. If we play with 10, we won't win.
'It's definitely easier for me to get booked because the refs know now what my style is like. They know I play hard so they watch me more than most and for me that makes it difficult.'