PAPISS Cisse will be given until the 11th hour to prove his fitness for Newcastle United’s home game against Stoke City tomorrow.
The striker missed Thursday night’s goalless Europa League tie against Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow through illness.
But United manager Alan Pardew is hopeful Cisse – who scored a stunning goal in Newcastle’s last home game, the 4-2 win over Southampton – will be available to face Tony Pulis’s side tomorrow.
“We’re hoping he gets back to training,” Pardew said. “I don’t think it will keep him out of next Thursday (against Anzhi), it’s just whether he can make Sunday.”
Pardew withdrew captain Yohan Cabaye near the end of the game at the Luzhniki Stadium with an eye on Stoke, and the squad came through the game on the artificial surface unscathed.
“We had the chance to rest Cabaye for at least the last 15 minutes,” said Pardew. “I think everybody looks fine. We haven’t picked up any injuries – we’re sound with that.”
Newcastle, in 15th place, are just six points above the Premier League’s relegation zone, and a win over Stoke would be a significant step forward to securing the club’s top-flight status for another season.
It would also give Pardew the freedom to play a stronger team in the home leg against Anzhi on Thursday night.
“It (Premier League safety) is uppermost in my mind,” said Pardew. “It also gives us some breathing space for next Thursday night, because we have Wigan (on March 17) the week after.
“I don’t want to get the wrong result on Sunday, then be at full pelt Thursday and then have to get a result at Wigan. It is a big week in our season.”
Cabaye admits the Magpies are still in a “difficult position”.
“Unfortunately, we lost at Swansea in our last league game,” Cabaye said. “Now we’re still in a difficult position, and at home we have to play to win every game.
“It’s going to be tough – Stoke are a difficult team to play – but I hope we will do the right things to win. We just want the three points.”