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Ben Arfa comeback ahead of schedule

Hatem Ben Arfa's agent has revealed the Newcastle forward is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken leg.

It had been feared that the France international, who is on loan from Marseille, would not play again this season after breaking his leg in two places in a tackle with Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong in October.

But the 23-year-old's recovery is progressing more quickly than expected and it is hoped he may be able to return to training as early as February.

His agent Simon Stainrod told The Journal: "Hatem is doing really, really well.

"He's working really hard and he's in a centre where they are working intensively from Monday to Friday on the injury and it is definitely helping him to make plenty of progress.

"I think, from the original prognosis, it's going to be much, much better than that. You can never tell 100% but hopefully he's going to be back in the first week of February, which is just fantastic. It could be later, it could be earlier but that's better than anyone thought.

"The club doctor came from Newcastle to see him last week and he was really delighted with Hatem's progress.

"He's working hard and there are a group of specialists working with him - he's really in the best place.

"He's working on his strength and that is the next step, but he's dedicated and he's absolutely determined to get back in a Newcastle shirt and repay the supporters for their support through all of this."