De Jong seeks Ben Arfa meeting
The Frenchman suffered a double leg fracture in a challenge by the Holland international the last time they went head-to-head on the pitch at the Etihad Stadium in October last year. Ben Arfa has only just returned to action and manager Alan Pardew on Thursday sat him down to ask him if the psychological impact of returning to the scene of his agonising misfortune was a concern. Pardew said on Thursday: "I had a conversation with him this morning about it because I think you could carry some demons when you have an injury like that. "But he was absolutely clear to me this morning that he has no problem about going back there, no problem about facing their particular player. "The player has contacted him, which I appreciate as the manager of the other team, and he wants to see Hatem. We have said after the game would be a good time, not before. "Hopefully, that will then come to rest. "At the time, I thought - and I wasn't the manager at the time - it was a bad tackle, but they do happen in the game and unfortunately Hatem suffered a severe injury. "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." Ben Arfa could find himself involved as the Premier League leaders entertain the surprise occupants of third place with Leon Best struggling to shake off a groin problem. However, there will be no place for compatriot Sylvain Marveaux. The winger, like Best, suffered a groin injury during the 2-1 victory over Everton on November 5, and is now facing surgery which will sideline him for some time. Pardew said: "He will have an operation this week, probably. That could be a while." The Magpies boss was holding his first press conference since the club's announcement that they are to press ahead with controversial plans to sell the naming rights to their stadium. Pardew admitted he understood the outcry which followed from certain quarters, but insisted nothing substantial will change. He said: "For the traditionalists amongst our fans, I think it's something they are upset at. "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. It's there where it is. "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. "I can understand the arguments on both sides. For me and the playing staff, of course, it is our home and we love playing there. "We have done very, very well there this season and we hope to continue that and really, it hasn't affected us too much if I am honest. "Clubs have to move on and I hope our fans understand that. But they will still be in their same seats roaring us on. "The memories of that stadium are still there, and that's important. When you move grounds, that's a little bit different." Meanwhile, the club on Thursday confirmed that 19-year-old England Under-21 international Sammy Ameobi, the younger brother of striker Shola, has signed a new three and a half-year contract. Pardew said: "He has progressed into what I would consider a first-team squad player, and now he wants a first-team shirt. "The timing of the Under-21 call-up was a bit concerning because he hadn't signed his deal, and you know what some of the top clubs are like. "But he has signed it today and we are really, really pleased."