sport

Pardew upset by HBA fitness

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has told Hatem Ben Arfa he needs to work harder if he wants to get back into the team.

The 25-year-old Frenchman has been sidelined since December 10 by a hamstring injury, and has seen proposed comeback dates come and go with his manager having pencilled in last Sunday's Premier League clash with Southampton and this weekend's trip to Swansea, only to find the player was not ready to return.

A disappointed Pardew on Thursday revealed that Ben Arfa is still short of match fitness and prescribed a diet of good old-fashioned hard work.

He said: "I have to say his conditioning has disappointed me this week, and we will be working hard in the next few days to get him up to speed because he lacks a bit of fitness, for sure.

"I just think it's something we need to push him on at. His upper body strength is there, but we want to work on his general fitness. I think that needs to improve."