Ben Arfa may get all-clear

22 July 2011 11:52
NEWCASTLE could be boosted by the news that Hatem Ben Arfa's ankle injury isn't as bad as first feared.[LNB]  [LNB] Ben Arfa was stretchered off during the first-half of Newcastle's 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night after a challenge with Roger Espinoza.[LNB] The midfielder was immediately taken for x-rays on his left ankle, before the club announced he would fly back to Tyneside and miss the remainder of the club's pre-season tour of America.[LNB] Initial fears suggested the Frenchman might have aggravated the horrific injury he suffered last season when a challenge with Manchester City's Nigel de Jong resulted in a double leg break, which kept him out of action for ten months.[LNB] But early signs suggest the injury isn't as bad as first feared and the exciting midfielder could be back in action within three weeks.[LNB] The Magpies face a tense wait to discover the extent of the injury, but it would be a major boost for boss Alan Pardew, who has been impressed by the Frenchman so far during pre-season.[LNB] Speaking after his side's 0-0 draw Pardew said: "Hatem is going to have a few demons from that injury he had last year.[LNB] "I am hoping he's okay. We took him off as a precaution - he was a bit shocked by the challenge, I think - but we think he will be okay."[LNB] The Magpies' first game of their US tour also saw debuts for summer signings Sylvain Marveaux and Demba Ba, but neither could find a breakthrough at the Livestrong Stadium.[LNB] The first-team players absent from the US tour - Joey Barton, Nile Ranger and Yohan Cabaye - all featured in the Reserves 2-2 draw with Hollandia last night.[LNB] Barton scored the opener, but missed a second-half penalty before Ryan Donaldson scored a late equaliser to earn a draw for Peter Beardsley's side.[LNB] The trio were forced to link up with the development squad for their pre-season tour of Holland having had their applications for visas into the US rejected.[LNB] Barton and Ranger were denied access because of their previous criminal convictions, while a minor issue that has since been resolved stopped Frenchman Cabaye from traveling with his new team mates.[LNB] Other notable names on the Reserves team sheet were Wayne Routledge, James Perch and Xisco.[LNB] Routledge's future on Tyneside appears to be up in the air, with Premier League new boys Swansea interested in signing the diminuitive winger.[LNB] Barton put the Magpies ahead in the 11th minute when Cabaye won possession and gave the ball to the Liverpool-born midfielder, who finished with a low drive that took a slight deflection of a Hollandia defender before going in.[LNB] The hosts drew level on 23 minutes through Paul Tesselaar's rebounded effort, before taking the lead on 36 minutes when Kalvin Robert tapped home from the far post.[LNB] Barton had a great chance to grab his second - and draw Newcastle level - when he was fouled inside the box, but the midfielders spot kick rattled the left post.[LNB] It looked as though the game would end in defeat for the Magpies, until Donaldson converted Joan Edmundsson's pass in the final minutes to earn a draw for Beardsley's side.[LNB] Newcastle: Sodeberg; Perch (Richardson 46), Dummett, Henderson, McDermott, Routledge (Edmundsson 62), Cabaye (Sammy Ameobi 62), Joey Barton (Inman 69), Moyo, Ranger (Airey 62), Xisco (Donaldson 62).[LNB] Subs not used: Grant, Zamblera, Adjei, Newton, Kadar, Folan.[LNB]

Source: Northern_Echo