ALAN Pardew has told of his relief after Papiss Cisse returned to the fold at Newcastle United.
The striker had been unwilling to wear a Wonga-branded shirt on religious grounds.
But talks involving Cisse’s representative, the club, Wonga and the Professional Footballers’ Association led to a resolution this week.
And Cisse – who has agreed to wear the club’s new kit – is again training with his team-mates after missing United’s two-game tour of Portugal.
It is not clear whether Cisse will be involved in tomorrow’s friendly against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
However, Pardew feels he isn’t far behind his colleagues in terms of his fitness – despite his lack of match practice.
“It’s been resolved,” said Pardew.
“I’m very, very pleased. Papiss is in good condition.
“It (missing the Portugal tour) isn’t going to affect him.”
Pardew says he will name a strong team at Bloomfield Road, with Moussa Sissoko, Davide Santon, Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy all expected to feature, though a clutch of players will be left behind on Tyneside.
“I’m going to leave four or five players behind to work on their fitness,” added Pardew. “But it will be a strong team.”
With Blackpool’s first Championship game a fortnight away, Pardew’s expecting a keenly-contested fixture.
“Blackpool are two weeks away from the start of their season,” he said.
“They’re 10 days ahead of us. I think that will show. It’ll be a good test for us.”
Newcastle will be backed by a large following at Blackpool, where there will be matchday sales of tickets to travelling fans.
Supporters are asked to buy their tickets, priced £15 for adults and £5 for concessions, from the away ticket booth at Bloomfield Road, which will be open from 1pm.
Meanwhile, United could cast their recruitment net over Portugal – after being impressed with the talent in the country.
Alan Pardew’s side spent a week in Braga preparing for the new season.
Newcastle played two games in Portugal – against Pacos de Ferreira and Rio Ave – and Pardew was impressed with the standard of their Primeira Liga opposition.
United have forged strong links with Braga, who visit St James’s Park for a pre-season friendly on August 10 and played the club in a warm-up fixture in Faro a year ago.