Newcastle Utd’s Ben Arfa set to play at Hartlepool Utd

Hatem Ben Arfa
Hatem Ben Arfa

HATEM Ben Arfa’s hoping to make his seasonal debut at Hartlepool United tonight.

The forward is expected to be in the squad for Newcastle United’s visit to Victoria Park.

However, it’s likely the best Ben Arfa – who reported back for pre-season training later this his team-mates – can hope for is a place on the bench.

Shola Ameobi, Sylvain Marveaux, Mike Williamson, Gael Bigirimana, Danny Simpson and Dan Gosling are also expected to be involved against the League One club, who have beaten Sunderland and held Middlesbrough this pre-season.

Pardew said Ben Arfa’s inclusion was a “possibility” after Newcastle’s goalless draw at Den Haag on Saturday.

Ben Arfa, well behind his colleagues in terms of fitness, needs minutes on the pitch ahead of the start of the season.

Sammy Ameobi won’t be involved after suffering a hamstring problem last week.

Meanwhile, Shane Ferguson has returned to training after recovering from injury.

Ferguson hasn’t played yet this pre-season.