Hatem Ben Arfa

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Having watched Hatem Ben Arfa mark his return from injury with a goal at Fulham in midweek, Alan Pardew could be without the talented Frenchman again when his side take on Manchester City on Saturday.

The 25-year-old was a big miss as he sat out for four games following the hamstring strain he suffered against Maritimo in the Europa League last month and underlined just how big a player he is for Newcastle with his stunning strike at Craven Cottage.

But the former Marseille man has suffered a slight reaction to the injury and Pardew - who is already without the creative force of Yohan Cabaye and the pace of Gabriel Obertan - has revealed that he is a doubt for the weekend.

And on a day when United will need to be at their best to beat the reigning champions, the Magpies boss admitted that being without him again would be a blow for his team against Robert Mancini's men.

"They have an abundance of flair players and the difference between us is that they can call on five, six, seven top international flair players and we probably have three," Pardew said.

"So we're on a knife edge when they're fit and when they're not fit and for this particular game we have a little concern over Hatem, whether he'll be available.

"His hamstring looks a little bit of a problem and we're still trying to get to the bottom of that."

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