Magpies fly Down Under without duo

OUT OF FAVOUR ... Ben Arfa.
OUT OF FAVOUR ... Ben Arfa.

NEWCASTLE United were set to today fly to New Zealand – without Hatem Ben Arfa and Sylvain Marveaux.

Alan Pardew is taking a 17-man squad to the country for the Football United Tour 2014.

Newcastle will play games against Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix next week.

Ben Arfa and Marveaux – who have trained with the club’s development squad since reporting back for pre-season – will be left behind, but they won’t play for the Under-21s against Gateshead at the International Stadium tonight (7.30pm kick-off).

The club’s World Cup players – and new signings Remy Cabella and Daryl Janmaat – won’t travel, and SportMail understands Shane Ferguson and Gael Bigirimama did not make the squad.

However, forward Emmanuel Riviere – who joined the club from Monaco this week – will travel along with fellow new signings Siem de Jong and Jack Colback.

The absence of Ben Arfa and Marveaux from the squad list is not a surprise, with the pair available for transfer after falling out of favour at St James’s Park last season.

Montpellier – who sold Cabella to Newcastle last week – are reportedly interested in taking midfielder Marveaux on loan, while a report in France claimed a Ukrainian side had made a bid for Ben Arfa, who reported back for training overweight.

Ben Arfa, however, is disputing the resulting fine levied by the club, according to Le Parisien.

Meanwhile, winger Ferguson and midfielder Bigirimana could play at the International Stadium in what is a testimonial for Gateshead’s long-serving defender James Curtis.

Otherwise, reserve-team coach Peter Beardsley will name a youthful team, with a number of his players in the club’s squad for New Zealand.

Gateshead manager Gary Mills – whose side were beaten in the Conference play-off final last season – could give former United midfielder Greg McDermott a run-out.

McDermott has been training with the club in pre-season.

Admission to the International Stadium is £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and £2 for under-16s.