HATEM Ben Arfa is ready to hit full speed at Newcastle United – after a go-slow in pre-season.
The forward – who was troubled by a niggling hamstring problem for much of last season – has been “nursed” through the club’s warm-up campaign, according to manager Alan Pardew.
Ben Arfa has come through a punishing few weeks with no problems.
And he is in contention to start Monday night’s season-opener against Manchester City.
“We need to be very careful with him because of his injuries,” said Pardew.
“We’ve nursed him through pre-season, and he looks like he’s better for it.”
Ben Arfa’s long run of injuries at Newcastle started at the City of Manchester Stadium in October 2010, where he suffered a horrific double leg break under a reckless challenge from Nigel de Jong.
Ben Arfa missed the rest of that season, but returned to form and fitness in the latter months of the following campaign, when United finished fifth in the league.