Hatem Ben Arfa will finally return to the Newcastle side almost a year after suffering a double leg break against Manchester City.
Ben Arfa enjoyed a fine start to life in the Premier League after arriving on loan from Marseille, scoring a superb goal in a 2-1 win at Everton. But a poor tackle from Nigel de Jong ended his season after just four Premier League appearances.
Despite the injury, the Magpies chose to make his transfer permanent in January for a fee in the region of 10 million.
The 24-year-old suffered a setback in his bid to return for the start of the new season when carried off in a game against Sporting Kansas City on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.
Now he will pull on the black and white shirt on Wednesday night as Newcastle travel to struggling Championship side Nottingham Forest in the Carling Cup.
Manager Alan Pardew, who has not had the chance to select the player after taking over from Chris Hughton, said: “He will bring a creative force to the team that is different to what we have.
“He is probably different to a lot of players in the Premier League. He’s elusive on the ball.
“What’s important for him is to make sure he grabs the work-rate that we have got in the team. If he grabs that, he’s got a good chance of getting into this team.
“We always factored Ben Arfa in, of course. I don’t think that [the addition of another striker] would have affected him.
“He will have that number 10 role that Demba Ba did on Saturday and did very, very well for us, so that’s where he’s got good competition.”
Pardew also praised Yohan Cabaye, who put in a man of the match performance at Aston Villa at the weekend. He said: “He will bring goals and assists. He got 14 two years ago and won the double last year with a lot of assists.
“He’s a great player, he’s just a good player. A couple of games passed him by because of the frantic energy of the Premier League, but he will get to grips with it.
“He is still working out his relationship with Cheick [Tiote], but that was a lot better on Saturday and if we keep those two fit, we are going to win more games than we will lose, I think.”
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