Newcastle Utd’s Cabaye battling to be fit for big kick off


NEWCASTLE United’s Yohan Cabaye is battling to be fit for the new campaign.

The midfielder was today being assessed ahead of club’s final warm-up game against Cardiff City tomorrow.

And if Cabaye is not involved, it will leave him desperately short of match fitness ahead of the season-opener against Tottenham Hotspur on August 18.

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The 26-year-old – who has played just 18 minutes of football this pre-season – yesterday revealed he had asked not to be considered for France’s international friendly against Uruguay next Wednesday as he works on his conditioning on Tyneside.

In a statement on his website, Cabaye talked of being “fatigued” in the wake of his exploits for club and country last season.

“After discussions with the club doctors, it was better that I do not not participate in order to continue my physical training club to be in shape this season with big upcoming deadlines,” he said.

Asked about Cabaye’s non-involvement in United’s last two games –against Hartlepool United and Den Haag – Pardew talked of “a couple of little issues on the injury front”.

However, Pardew said he was still optimistic he would be available to face Spurs at St James’s Park in eight days time.

Meanwhile, Cabaye’s French countryman Hatem Ben Arfa wasn’t named in Didier Deschamps’s first squad.

Deschamps and Ben Arfa had a well-documented bust-up during their time together at Olympic Marseille before the forward moved to Newcastle.

Ben Arfa – who was warned about his conduct by France’s football federation after an incident with then-coach Laurent Blanc at Euro 2012 – isn’t expected to feature under Deschamps.