ROLANDO Aarons will be back in manager Alan Pardew’s thoughts for tonight’s Capital One Cup tie against Gillingham.
Aarons narrowly missed out on a place on Newcastle United’s bench at Villa Park on Saturday.
And Aarons watched the goalless draw from the stands along with loan signing Facundo Ferreyra.
Siem de Jong took Aarons’s place among the substitutes after recovering from a calf injury, and the summer signing almost claimed all three points for Pardew’s side with a late effort on goal, which was well saved by Brad Guzan.
But Aarons - who made his Premier League debut against Manchester City on the opening weekend of the season - seems certain to feature in the club’s second-round tie at the Priestfield Stadium.
“I think Rolando kind of had a baptism of fire - I put him right in at the deep end,” said Pardew. “I’m going to use him this year because I really like him - we think he has great, great talent. But this was our first away game, and it was a tough call on the bench.
“We had a little feeling about Dummy (Paul Dummett), so I needed Massadio Haidara on the bench. We decided to keep him off, but he will be in and around this team for sure all season.”
Meanwhile, Hatem Ben Arfa shone and scored a fine solo goal for Newcastle’s second string in a 5-2 win over Reading Under-21s yesterday.
The out-of-favour Frenchman looked sharp as he completed 90 minutes in front of the watching Alan Pardew.
But he is still likely to spend the rest of the week training away from the first team as Newcastle wait to see if there are any offers for the winger before the close of the transfer window.
Adam Armstrong bagged a hat-trick, with Sammy Ameobi also on target.