Newcastle welcome return of Hatem Ben Arfa

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is hoping to see much more of Hatem Ben Arfa after watching him play his part in a thrilling Carling Cup victory at Nottingham Forest.

The Frenchman, described by Pardew as his "Heineken" player before the game, returned to the Magpies' starting line-up at the City Ground for the first time in almost 12 months, and turned in an encouraging display in a hard-fought encounter before being substituted 20 minutes from time.

Pardew said: "He just started running out of steam a little bit towards the end when Forest had a little bit of control of the game.

"But he made one burst through the middle of the pitch - that just sets him apart from other players when he does things like that.

"If we get him up to speed and get him into what we do in the first team, he is going to be a massive bonus for us."

However, it was skipper Fabricio Coloccini who eventually stole the headlines on a dramatic night in Nottingham with a winner in the second minute of time added on at the end of 120 pulsating minutes, to make the score 4-3.

Coloccini's heroics spared Newcastle the lottery of a penalty shoot-out in the nick of time after a tooth and nail encounter in which Forest refused to be killed off.

The npower Championship side equalised three times with Robbie Findley cancelling out Peter Lovenkrands' 39th-minute opener seconds after the restart, Matt Derbyshire levelling following Lovenkrands' penalty on the hour before Marcus Tudgay ensured Danny Simpson's fluke 93rd-minute strike was not the winner.

Pardew said: "I can't think of one player who didn't play well, and if we had worked on the team like we have the first team, it would have been a better performance as a team.

"On Thursday, I will have a training ground where everybody is happy, and that doesn't happen very often.

"It might not be on Friday, though, when I pick the team."

Forest boss Steve McClaren was also able to take positives out of his team's performance despite the result as they responded in spirited fashion to Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Derby.

He saluted the character within the dressing room, which was demonstrated by defender Luke Chambers after he was released from the squad to attend the birth of his child.

McClaren said: "Luke Chambers' girlfriend delivered a baby at about 6pm this evening, and I jokingly said, 'Well, there's a place on the bench this evening if you can make it'.

"Five minutes before kick-off, he turned up. He will be fined because he had jeans on, but that was just a demonstration of what they have got in that dressing room.

"Then we just need to sort little bits out to start getting results."

Comments