PAPISS Cisse will finally get his season up and running at St Mirren.
The Newcastle striker is again available for selection after agreeing to wear a Wonga-branded shirt.
Cisse had missed the club’s two-game tour of Portugal while the issue was resolved, and the 28-year-old wasn’t involved in yesterday’s 1-0 win over Blackpool, having only trained once with his team-mates before the friendly – but he is in the squad for the club’s visit to St Mirren Park tomorrow night.
While Cisse is behind his colleagues in terms of their fitness work, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew feels the Senegal international is ready to play.
“Papiss has looked really good,” Pardew said.
“We’ve only had one training day with him as a group, and he’s looked really well. I’m pleased with that.
“It’s been a difficult time for him, and now we rally round him and support him.”
Hatem Ben Arfa, Cheik Tiote and the suspended Fabricio Coloccini also sat out the Blackpool game, but they will also return to the squad for the St Mirren fixture.
Coloccini was banned after his dismissal in last week’s 1-1 draw against Pacos de Ferreira in Portugal, while Ben Arfa and Tiote stayed behind to work on their fitness.
“Hatem, Colo, Papiss, Cheik and a few others stayed behind,” said Pardew. “They’ll all play at St Mirren, for sure.”
Shola Ameobi is a doubt, though, after suffering a dead leg after scoring the only goal at Bloomfield Road.
“Shola’s got a little bit a dead leg that might keep him out of St Mirren, but no more than that,” Pardew added.
Pardew felt United missed Ameobi’s presence up front in the second half, when Blackpool, and especially Tom Ince, took the game to their visitors.
“We had to defend well in the second half, when Shola had a dead leg,” said Pardew.
“We didn’t have enough presence up top, really. That’s something we need to address, but as a workout, I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Yohan Cabaye, meanwhile, says he is focused on kicking off the new season with Newcastle – despite a summer of speculation linking him with a move away from the club.
The 27-year-old, who started yesterday’s 1-0 friendly win over Blackpool, is wanted by Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco and he has also been linked with Manchester United.
And there is the chance that Cabaye will be sold before the summer transfer window closes.
Reflecting on the game, which was decided by Shola Ameobi’s early goal, Cabaye added: “It was a good win. For me, it was my first win of the season, so it was nice.
“We played well in the first half. The second half was more difficult, but we were still working. We have to be focused and ready for the first game (against Manchester City) on August 19.
“It was a good win. It’s good for Shola and for us.”
Cabaye has bought into the pre-season changes implemented by manager Alan Pardew, whose side returned from a two-game tour of Portugal last week.
And he insists the mood behind the scenes is “very positive”.
“Everybody’s focused on the team,” said the France international. “We worked really hard in Portugal. The week was fantastic.
“We just want to progress with the ball and keep more of the ball than last season. We gave away the ball too easily sometimes.
“The manager wants us to take one or two touches on the ball and move after the pass. It’s good. We’re not 100 per cent fit, but we’re working hard.
“The feeling in the squad is very, very positive. It’s nice to work in this atmosphere.”