No risk to play on-form Cisse, says Newcastle boss

Papiss Cisse

Papiss Cisse

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PAPISS Cisse is back in the old routine at Newcastle United.

The striker has already equalled last season’s tally of four goals in just three appearances.

And Cisse, having had two barren years in front of goal, is looking more like the player who plundered 13 goals in his first few months at St James’s Park.

The 29-year-old – who has recovered from the broken kneecap that kept him out for six months – only returned from international duty with Senegal yesterday.

But manager Alan Pardew will have on qualms about handing him a start against Leicester City this afternoon.

“I don’t think it’s a risk to play him,” said Pardew.

“I think he is injury-free for the first time for a long time, because at the back end of last year, he was carrying knocks and injuries, and fatigue a little bit.

“He is more enthused this year than I have seen him for a long time, and that’s being reflected in his goals.”

Cisse’s first half-season at Newcastle was punctuated by a a series of stunning goals.

But the former Freiburg player’s strikes have been more convention this season, and Pardew is just happy to see him again putting the ball in the back of the net.

“I thought that first year, he got all sorts of goals,” said Pardew.

“It would be nice to see him score and absolute worldie of a goal, but I think he is a natural goalscorer, we see that on the training ground

“There have been times when it hasn’t been so natural for him.

“With all goalscorers, they go through those periods, but certainly at the moment – although we have not seen him for the last two weeks – he has looked very sharp in training.

“I can only talk about where he is now, and he does look more enthused, and he’s a good voice, Papiss, in the dressing room.

“He’s got more leadership in him than he showed when he first arrived.”

Cisse, however, still needs service, and United have struggled in the opposition half of the pitch this season.

“I like to think that we are going to need to increase those chances for him, I do,” added Pardew.

“That’s an area we do need to improve on.

“But the chances that he’s had, he’s taken and you can’t ask for more than that.”