16 October 2014 19:31
Alan Pardew believes Papiss Cisse will be key as Newcastle United seek their first Premier League win of the season versus Leicester City.
Newcastle welcome the Midlands club to St James’ Park on Saturday as one of the two remaining winless teams in the English top flight, with Burnley the only other side yet to claim maximum points.
Cisse’s return to form has been a lone positive for under-fire manager Pardew, who has seen fans continually call for owner Mike Ashley to sack him.
Senegal striker Cisse found the net just four times in all competitions last season and has already matched that tally from three appearances in 2014-15 thanks to doubles against Hull City and, most recently, Swansea City.
His goals were enough to rescue 2-2 draws in each of those fixtures and Pardew expects the 29-year-old to play a pivotal role in ending Newcastle’s wait for a first win.
“Papiss looks rejuvenated and there is a bit more enthusiasm in him. We’ve been missing his quality and he’s very important,” Pardew said.
“Emphasis will be on us to break Leicester down but not leave ourselves open to the counter-attack. We have to be wary of that.
“The most important thing is that we win the game on Saturday. We need to for the fans and the whole club. I hope we get it.”
Pardew is right to be wary of Leicester’s attacking quality as Nigel Pearson’s men have mustered 11 goals in a decent start to their return to the Premier League.
A 5-3 win over Manchester United has undoubtedly been the highlight for Leicester so far but, following a 2-2 draw with Burnley prior to the international break, Pearson is keen for his side to show greater consistency.
“Some of our performances have been very good and some we haven’t been able to reproduce,” said Pearson, who twice served as caretaker manager at Newcastle earlier in his career.
“None of the games are easy. Every fixture is a tough one and we’ve done OK but we could do better.
“Newcastle are a big club. I still know a lot of people up there and I’m looking forward to seeing them.”
Matthew Upson (foot) is Leicester’s only injury doubt. Goalkeeper Tim Krul will be fit for Newcastle, despite picking up an elbow injury on international duty with Netherlands.
Defenders Daryl Janmaat and Paul Dummett are also available after recovering from hamstring problems, but Rolando Aarons remains on the sidelines with a similar issue, together with Siem de Jong (thigh) and Davide Santon (knee).