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Pardew: Newcastle need Ben Arfa for strong end to season

According to Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, Hatem Ben Arfa's return can be the key to a strong finish to the Premier League campaign. The 27-year-old French winger returns to first-team action against Crystal Palace this weekend after a month out.

Pardew, whose side are ninth, said: "It's all about Hatem with Hatem, and he looks in a much better place.

"If he brings the right ingredients, the work-rate, the ability to the pitch for us, then he can be influential."

Ben Arfa has been unavailable because of a groin injury, and Pardew said he had also missed a week's training "with an illness at home".

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Dave Williams

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