NEWCASTLE United striker Papiss Demba Cisse has lost his limp – but he’s NOT lost his goalscorer’s instinct.
And Cisse’s most important goal for the relegation-threatened club could come between now and the end of the season.
A little poke in the six-yard box might do itJohn Carver
The 29-year-old – who could be named on the bench against West Bromwich Albion this afternoon – has served a seven-match ban for spitting.
Cisse has also returned to training this week after recovering from a procedure to remove the screw he had inserted into his knee after fracturing his kneecap late last season.
The Senegal international is the club’s top scorer with 11 Premier League goals – despite making just 11 starts.
United head coach John Carver has seen Cisse score some sublime goals for Newcastle – like those at Chelsea and Swansea three years ago – but he’d happily see him score the scruffiest strike on his return to the team.
“His most important goals for the club might yet to be to come.
“They don’t have to be spectacular or pretty like the two at Chelsea – a little poke in the six-yard box might do it.
“Whatever it means, whichever way it happens, I don’t mind as long as it gets us the three points.
“He’s putting himself up for it because don’t forget, he had an operation on his knee and he trained for the first time on Thursday.
“He’s not got that limp anymore, which is great news. Let’s see how he is.”
Carver – whose side are just two points above third-from-bottom Sunderland – believes that West Brom will be hard to break down.
Tony Pulis’s side had just 30 per cent of possession against Manchester United last weekend, but they won 1-0 at Old Trafford thanks to a deflected free-kick.
And a moment of brilliance – or an instinctive finish – from Cisse could make all the difference.
Carver said: “They’re very difficult to break down. Man United had 70 per cent possession, but they’re effective at what they do and how they do it.
“They’ve got to that 40-point mark. I’m hoping they might just take their foot off the gas a little bit, but I very much doubt it with Tony (Pulis), because of the guy he is.
“He’ll want to win everything, like me. We’ve got to have enough to try and break them down.
“There might be periods in the game where we’re not getting anywhere because they will drop deep – they will get bodies behind the ball – they will make it difficult but we have to stay patient and not get caught on the counter.”
Carver will be without Siem de Jong (thigh), while Adam Armstrong, another of his forwards, has a calf problem.