Ben Afra Still 'Well Short Of Match Fitness'

09 August 2012 11:36
Hatem Ben Arfa made his first appearance of pre-season in Tuesday night's 5-1 win over Hartlepool United.

The 25-year-old came off the bench for the second half, but Alan Pardew said: "He is well short of match fitness. Miles away from the rest of the squad."

Alan Pardew: “Obviously, he’s going to have a big, big season for us.

“We hope he does, but I’ve got to manage him.

"I’ve got to choose the right games for him. He can’t play every game – none of our players can, even (Fabricio) Coloccini or Tim (Krul).

“Obviously, he’s got qualities than even our own players stand and applaud.

“He takes corners with the outside of his foot, and stuff like that. He’s a complete one-off, and it was nice to see him get involved (against Hartlepool).”