Pardew: Ben Arfa back for early April
Injured Newcastle striker Hatem Ben Arfa could return to action for the league match against Wolverhampton on 2 April, Magpies boss Alan Pardew said today.
Ben Arfa, who joined Newcastle last summer on loan from Marseille, has been sidelined since October when he sustained a double leg fracture in a challenge from Manchester City's Nigel de Jong.
The French midfielder signed a permanent deal at St James' Park in January, though, and now Pardew believes the home game against Wolves in just over five weeks' time is a realistic target for his return to action.
"You'd like to think he's got every chance of playing against Wolves," Pardew told the Newcastle Chronicle newspaper. "The Stoke game (on 19 March) is probably too soon for him. He will not be toned up as he has been out for so long. He's running, but he's a good month away."
Meanwhile, Pardew hopes Shola Ameobi will be able to take part when Newcastle host Everton a week on Saturday. The striker has returned from the United States where he had a protective mask fitted after breaking his cheekbone.
Steven Taylor is also back in training following a hamstring problem while Ryan Taylor, who has not played in the first team since October due to an ankle injury, should be fit for the visit of Bolton this weekend. However, Danny Guthrie is set to miss out against his former club.