Hatem Ben Arfa could be back in action within a fortnight after manager Alan Pardew was handed some rare welcome injury news. The France international limped out of Thursday night's 1-1 Europa League draw with Maritimo with a damaged hamstring, and although the club's medics were confident there was no tear, Pardew was left facing up to the absence of perhaps his most creative player.
Alan Pardew: "It's not as bad as we feared, so I think a couple of weeks, but no more than that, hopefully.
"Papiss Cisse took a kick on the thigh but his condition had improved significantly this morning and he has a chance of making the trip to the St Mary's Stadium.
"Jonas Gutierrez is returning from a knee problem and James Perch trained this morning after shaking off a thigh injury."