Nigel de Jong wants Hatem Ben Arfa meeting

Hatem Ben Arfa on stretcher
Ben Arfa suffered a double leg fracture at Etihad Stadium on 3 October 2010

Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong has asked to meet Newcastle striker Hatem Ben Arfa when the Magpies go to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

"The player has contacted him, which I appreciate as the manager of the other team," said Newcastle boss Alan Pardew.

"We have said after the game would be a good time - not before. Hopefully, that will then come to rest."

Frenchman Ben Arfa only returned to action in September after an 11-month absence from the game and he could line up against the league leaders, with Magpies forward Leon Best struggling to shake off a groin problem.

"I had a conversation with him [Ben Arfa] about it because I think you could carry some demons when you have an injury like that," added Pardew.

"But he was absolutely clear to me that he has no problem about going back there, no problem about facing their particular player.

"What I do know is, a year down the line - and it has taken that long - he is back somewhere near his best, and that's good news for us."

Third-placed Newcastle will be without French winger Sylvain Marveaux, who suffered a groin injury in the 2-1 win against Everton on 5 November.

Pardew revealed that Marveaux is likely to undergo surgery this week and could be out for "a while".

The Magpies manager also commented on the club's decision to rename St James Park 'The Sports Direct Arena' after owner Mike Ashley's company.

"For the traditionalists amongst our fans, I think it's something they are upset at," he said.

"But it is still in the same place and it's still the Gallowgate End and we still have your tradition of walking to the stadium from the centre of town.

"On the other side of the coin, of course, commercially, it will attract a big sponsor, we hope, and give us extra revenue to go forward."

Top Stories