Newcastle boss Alan Pardew admits Hatem Ben Arfa is still not fully fit
Alan Pardew has admitted that Hatem Ben Arfa is playing through the pain barrier to aid Newcastle's survival bid.
By Pete O'Rourke - Follow me: @skysportspeteo
Last Updated: 07/05/13 12:06pm
Pardew took a gamble on Ben Arfa's fitness by starting him in last weekend's goalless draw at West Ham.
Ben Arfa has been blighted with hamstring problems this season which have restricted him to just 20 appearances in all competitions.
Pardew is prepared to take a risk on Ben Arfa's fitness as he feels the Frenchman can make the difference in their battle to avoid relegation.
"Ben Arfa has been struggling. This hamstring has a slight weakness in there and it won't even be strong I don't think for six, seven weeks," noted Pardew.
"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."