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Mar 1, 2011

Ben Arfa could be out until May

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has revealed Hatem Ben Arfa faces a battle to return to first-team action before May as he bids to recover from his double leg break.

Ireland ready to go

Ben Arfa, whose loan from Marseille was made permanent in January, has not featured for Newcastle since sustaining the injury in the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City in October, but Pardew said in February that he was "a good month away". He added that the player had "every chance of playing against Wolves" on April 2.

However, Pardew has now said Ben Arfa has little prospect of playing in that game.

"I am going to protect him," he said. "I can't just throw him in. The Wolves game sounds optimistic, even though I'm sure, in his own mind, he has set that as his target.

"He is still very much in the process of recovery and has a long road back. It may even take us into May. To break both bones in the shin is tough - not just physically, but mentally, too."

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest boss Billy Davies has dismissed claims Newcastle midfielder Danny Guthrie is close to sealing a loan switch to the City Ground.

"I have made no attempt to sign Guthrie," he told the Nottingham Evening Post. "He is a player who was on our list, when we were looking at possibilities, and he is a player who had been out of the picture at his club.

"But is he available? I don't know. Would he come here? I don't know. He is not somebody we have tried to sign."

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