Alan Pardew says he will continue to take a gamble on Hatem Ben Arfa despite him still struggling with a hamstring injury.
Ben Arfa returned to the starting line up against West Ham at the weekend and lasted for 65 minutes before Pardew was forced to withdraw the France international.
Pardew has defended his decision to play Ben Arfa despite him not being fully fit and says he will continue to do so while Newcastle are not safe from relegation.
“Ben Arfa has been struggling,” Pardew admitted. “This hamstring has a slight weakness in there and it won’t even be strong I don’t think for six, seven weeks.
“We got a great level of fitness out of him in terms of that particular problem. He was terrific at West Ham, and he’s a match winner. We’ve been bringing him on in the second half but started him at the weekend and we missed him when we took him off. We missed that little thrust.
“I think for Hatem another week’s work will get him closer. Goal scoring is what wins games, we’ve got to improve that area for next week, including with Hatem.”
[cat_link cat=”newcastle-united” type=”grid”]