The manager has today updated on the progress of Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa towards the match against the Potters.
On Cisse’s illness over the past week which kept him out of the match in Moscow, Pardew had this to say to the Chronicle;
“I don’t think it will keep him out of the game next Thursday (v Anzhi), it is just whether he can make it on Sunday (Stoke)”.
As for Hatem Ben Arfa who made a surprising start in Moscow it was more definite news, the manager said;
“Hatem lasted longer than I thought (v Anzhi), at halfway I thought we might have to take him off but he got through to sixty minutes.
It that electric sharpness he has, he got away a few times but couldn’t get away fully. That will come though in the next two weeks but he will be involved against Stoke”.
The possible absence of Papiss Cisse would throw up an interest dilemma for the manager, whether to play Yoan Gouffran through the middle or bring Shola in, maybe a lot will depend on whether Ben Arfa is in a position to start which could then free up Gouffran for a more forward role.