NEWCASTLE United’s opening fixtures may have highlighted the need for another striker, but manager Alan Pardew believes forgotten man Papiss Cisse could be the one to solve their goalscoring problems when he returns from injury.
Cisse is close to completing his rehabilitation following a broken knee-cap he sustained against Swansea City in May.
The Senegal striker underwent surgery to repair the injury and spent the summer at Clairefontaine in France, but he is now on the verge of a return to full training.
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The Magpies have failed to find the net in their opening three fixtures of the campaign and had to rely on John Egan’s own goal to secure a 1-0 win over Gillingham in the Capital One Cup second round on Tuesday night.
After a blistering start to his St James’ Park career, in which he netted 13 times in 14 games, Cisse struggled to maintain such form and has weighed in with a less spectacular ten league goals in the last two campaigns.
There has even been talk Newcastle could cash in on Cisse with clubs in Turkey and Russia rumoured to be interested in the 29-year-old, but when asked about the need find a replacement for Loic Remy, Pardew pointed out he still has Cisse at his disposal.
“I do remember not so long ago us all talking very highly about Papiss and whether we could keep him,” Pardew said.
“I think with Papiss that there's a possibility that he could score a lot of goals in this team so I wouldn't write him off by any stretch of the imagination. He's about two weeks away from training so he's not far away so that's something that seems to have been forgotten.”
Pardew believes Cisse’s form over the past two seasons is down to a lack of creativity in the team rather than the striker’s ability, but having acquired attacking midfielders Siem de Jong and Remy Cabella, the Magpies boss is confident the Senegal international can replicate the form he showed in his first six months on Tyneside.
He said: “The chances he was given last year didn't' really help his cause and there were a lot of games where he trawled through for us because we never created enough chances for him.
“He had like two or three chances a game and he fluffed his lines a little bit but he probably needs more than that, top strikers do need more than that and I'd never put off the fact that he can come again - and come again here.
“Having said that, if we're going to bring in a player they have to be better and above (Emmanuel) Riviere and Papiss, otherwise there is no point.
“When you look at the transfers, Jordan Rhodes, McCormack to Fulham and Shane Long and you look at their prices I don't think we would have done those three transfers.”