Newcastle's French international midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is in danger of missing the Christmas programme after aggravating a hamstring injury.
The 25-year-old missed Saturday's 3-1 Premier League defeat by Manchester City and coach Alan Pardew has said that his absence could be prolonged.
"Hatem looks like he is going to miss the next two or three with the injury he has got. We can't risk him," he said
Ben Arfa suffered the original damage during the 1-1 Europa League draw with Maritimo at St James' Park on November 22 and sat out the following four games as a result.
He returned and scored in the 2-1 defeat at Fulham on December 10, but later reported discomfort in the hamstring and fearing an escalation, Pardew has decided to rest him fully in a bid to avoid a much lengthier lay-off.
Ben Arfa is likely to miss Saturday's vital home clash with QPR, who finally recorded their first win of the campaign at the weekend, and the daunting Boxing Day trip to Manchester United as well as the visit to Arsenal three days later.