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Papiss Out But Ben Arfa Set To Play

NUFC Logo Newcastle United FC

Alan Pardew has revealed that Papiss Cisse will miss Thursday's game in Russia, but Hatem Ben Arfa is set to feature

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Papiss Cisse will play no part against Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday after suffering from a sickness bug, but Hatem Ben Arfa is set to play for the first time since December against the Russian side.

Striker Cisse has been laid low since the weekend and failed to recover in time to make the trip to the Moscow, meaning Alan Pardew was forced to turn to Shola Ameobi who he had hoped to leave behind on Tyneside due to the artificial pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium.

But Ben Arfa was on Wednesday morning's flight and Pardew has revealed that he expects him to figure at some point in the Europa League round of 16 first leg tie.

"Papiss has been sick since Sunday, so myself and the doctor (Paul Catterson) went to see him this morning to see whether we felt he could travel - with me definitely thinking he could," Pardew explained.

"But he didn't look well, to be honest, so we've had to leave him behind unfortunately.

"That's one of the reasons I've brought Shola, because I didn't have any intention of bringing Shola on a surface that he's been advised in the past not really to play on. It leaves me a little bit short of striking options.

"I'm not reluctant to start with Shola but we have three or players - Jonas Gutierrez hasn't travelled because his knee reacts badly to this surface. It's not so much playing on it, it's the reaction afterwards: it would eliminate them from Stoke.

"So I have to take that into consideration with one or two players and for sure I'll be doing that. In terms of what my team will be, what kind of clues I'm going to give you, the answer is zero - a bit like the temperature!"

But when asked about Ben Arfa, Pardew said: "He's travelled.

"I think that at some point tomorrow you'll see him, hopefully."