Football - Pardew aiming to get over the line

Alan Pardew is not ready to unleash Hatem Ben Arfa fully as he attempts to guide weary Newcastle over the Barclays Premier League finishing line.

PA Sport

The Magpies slipped back on to the fringes of the battle for top-flight survival as a result of Sunday's unexpected 3-0 derby defeat by Sunderland three days after their Europa League quarter-final exit at the hands of Benfica.

Pardew later admitted that some of his players had simply run out of energy as a result of the gruelling demands placed upon a tight squad which has been repeatedly stretched by injuries.

However, while Newcastle head for West Brom looking for a win which would all but end their fears of being sucked into the thick of the mire below them, Ben Arfa, who masterminded a 3-1 victory at the Hawthorns last season, is likely only to be involved from the bench.

Asked if the mercurial Frenchman was ready to start a game after two appearances as a substitute following his return from a troublesome hamstring injury, the manager said: "No, I don't think so.

"He's working hard. He is somebody we are trying to manage and make sure we don't lose him for the last five games. We are trying to manage him very cleverly and get the best out of him."

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