NEWCASTLE United boss Alan Pardew is looking to new boy Papiss Cisse to be a derby hero this weekend.
The striker took his tally for the club to two goals from three games with his strike in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Wolves. And Cisse was yesterday withdrawn from the Senegal squad for tomorow night’s friendly against South Africa as a precaution after suffering a knock in the game.
Pardew, though, is confident the Cisse (right) will be fit to face Sunderland at the Sports Direct Arena on Sunday.
And the 26-year-old, signed from German club Freiburg for £9m last month, has also made an impression on the training pitch in his short time on Tyneside.
Cisse’s touch, awareness and, above all, striker’s instinct has heartened Pardew.
“Papiss has been showing in training all week that he’s going to score goals,” Pardew said.
“I think he got six in one small-sided game this week. I’ve not seen many strikers do that since I’ve been here.”
Pardew also took the performance of captain Fabricio Coloccini to be a positive from the Wolves game.
While the result, and performance, was disappointing – Newcastle lost a two-goal lead -– Pardew felt Cisse and Coloccini’s displays boded well for the coming weeks.
“There were a lot of positives,” added Pardew. “I thought Colo looked back to his best a little bit. Colo wasn’t at his best at Tottenham, either. We’ve had a few positives, and we’ll take that into Sunderland.”
H Newcastle United’s U18s lost on penalties to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals at the Sports Direct Arena.
The Magpies twice surrendered a lead in normal time as the game ended 2-2, before missing their first three penalties in the shoot-out to crash out.
Michael Hoganson and JJ Hooper scored for Newcastle, but then both missed from the spot, as did Ben Sayer.
Rovers scored all three of their penalties to go into the semi-finals.