Newcastle United’s Ben Arfa set for key derby role

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NEWCASTLE United’s Hatem Ben Arfa is being primed for a starring role in the Wear-Tyne derby.

Ben Arfa was left out of Alan Pardew’s starting XI at Cardiff City before the international break.

And the 26-year-old could again be on the bench against Liverpool at St James’s Park this afternoon.

But manager Pardew has hinted that Ben Arfa is very much in his thoughts for a start against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on October 27.

“I think he’ll make a contribution (against Liverpool), whether he starts or is on the bench, that could be significant,” Pardew said.

“It’s important we go to the next game and he’s in the same mood and manner.

“That’s what he understands he needs to do.

“It’s about consistency from him and the team.”

Ben Arfa was left out against Cardiff after strangely anonymous performances in the Premier League defeats to Everton and Hull City.

He came off the bench late in Newcastle’s 2-1 win at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Pardew has been carefully assessing Ben Arfa’s “attitude and application” on the training field over the past fortnight.

And he has been heartened with what he has seen from a player who made match-winning contributions against Aston Villa and Fulham earlier this season.

“He’s been very good,” said Pardew. “We all know what Hatem can do.

“What you’ve got to do is give him the solution to find the way to hurt the opposition on a consistent basis.

“He’s worked really hard this week on all his levels. I’m really happy with him. He’s trained very well.

“I’m very pleased with his attitude and application.”

Meanwhile, Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp has claimed he doesn’t know of any deal in place to make in-form forward Loic Remy’s loan move to United permanent.

Last weekend Pardew suggested there was an agreement between the two clubs, though he added the situation was “complicated”.

Redknapp said: “I don’t know what the deal is. I don’t know what the chairman Tony Fernandes or (chief executive) Philip Beard have agreed.

“He’s certainly playing well for them. I said last season that he’s a 10 to 15-goal a season man.”