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Dec 16, 2012

Newcastle dealt Ben Arfa blow

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has confirmed Hatem Ben Arfa will be sidelined until the New Year.

• Blog: Magpies go down fighting
• Heneage: Toon need investment

Ben Arfa, 25, has been struggling with a hamstring injury he sustained in the Europa League meeting with Maritimo last month.

The Frenchman made his return in the recent 2-1 loss at Fulham but he aggravated the problem and will now not be risked by Pardew until he has made a full recovery.

"There is a danger he could tear his hamstring," Pardew said. "If he did that he would be out for two or three months whereas if we do it the right way and be sensible about it, it may only be three weeks. And obviously that is the route we are going to take."

Newcastle's 3-1 defeat against Manchester City was their sixth in seven games, leaving the club 15th in the table and two points above the drop zone.

Of his side's form, Pardew said: "From now until January, it's going to be a dogfight. We have got to accept that and dog our way out of it and make sure we beat QPR, and then hopefully get something at Manchester United.

"They are the next two that are on the agenda at the minute. In the last four games, it's very difficult to say that we have only got three points out of those last four games.

"You can just see there's not a lot really wrong, but unfortunately we haven't got a points total that reflects the work we are putting in."

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