Hatem Ben Arfa

By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Alan Pardew is banking on the fitness of Hatem Ben Arfa to help to ensure that 2013/14 is a successful season for Newcastle United.

Last term, the Frenchman started like a house on fire before seeing his campaign disrupted by a niggling hamstring injury.

However, he has been fit throughout the summer fixtures and, ahead of the Magpies' Barclays Premier League opener at Manchester City on Monday night, Pardew has identified the former Marseille ace as a key figure in the months ahead.

One moment of magic from the 26-year-old can turn any match in United's favour and Pardew said: "He's shown up well in the last couple of games.

"He's a player that you need to be very careful with because of the injuries that he's had and we've nursed him through the pre-season and really geared it up these last two weeks.

"And he looks a lot better for it. We're hoping that if we can get a full season out of him then I think our season will go hand in hand and it'll be a success."

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