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US tour a rugged road for Newcastle
Published : 22 Jul 2011 19:00:55
Newcastle's US tour is proving anything but a holiday, but it will toughen them up for the English Premier League season, manager Alan Pardew said.
The club confirmed Thursday that Hatem Ben Arfa has been ruled out of the remainder of the tour after injuring an ankle.
The Frenchman, who missed virtually all of last season after suffering a double leg fracture, was stretchered off during the Magpies' goalless draw with Sporting Kansas of Major League Soccer on Wednesday.
It was just one more complication for Newcastle, who had three players left behind because of visa problems.
Midfielder Dan Gosling also suffered a head injury in the Kansas City game, but is expected to play Saturday when Newcastle face Orlando City Soccer of the third-tier USL Pro League at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
While the English players got a taste of the summer heat gripping much of America while in Kansas City, the humidity in Florida will add another layer of difficulty.
"The heat is definitely an issue," Pardew said.
"No matter where we play in America, it will be hot. We can't do anything about that, we just have to play in whatever weather that day has in store for us. "
Newcastle open their Premier League campaign on August 13 against Arsenal.
"It is good that we are training in this heat. The benefit of all the training and work we are putting in now will certainly pay off later," Pardew said.
Orlando City, in their first season, lead the USL Pro League. The team are coached by former Everton star Adrian Heath and are playing their second friendly against a Premiership team.
They fell 3-1 to Bolton on Sunday.