Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Cisse eyes return to striker role

Papiss Cisse believes Newcastle will be more of a force next season

Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse is ready to terrorise Barclays Premier League defences once again - as long as he gets to play in his favoured position.

The Senegal international spent the first half of last season playing in an unaccustomed wide right-side role as Demba Ba got the nod through the middle, and memories of his blistering start in English football soon faded.

Cisse told the Chronicle: "I hope to play in my best position as much as I can. My best position is striker. I had never played right wing in my life. It was my first time at Newcastle. It was okay because I was doing it for the team."

He added: "It was difficult last year because we were fighting not to go down. The year before, all of the players enjoyed the games and couldn't wait for the next one.

"We tried our best, but we hopefully will have all of our players back, not too many injuries.

"We have a good squad. I enjoy playing for this team. Next season, we will challenge.

"We have Hatem Ben Arfa, [Moussa] Sissoko and Yohan Cabaye, and the team can challenge at the higher end of the table."

However, if Newcastle are to mount the kind of challenge they did two seasons ago, they will need to find the man - or men - they need to support Cisse.

Pardew's mission to recruit at least one foil for the former Freiburg man was identified as the main focus this summer long before a disappointing campaign drew to a close. But to date the Magpies, with new director of football Joe Kinnear now heading the hunting party, have been directed up a series of blind alleys.

They have been given permission to talk to Wigan's Arouna Kone, although the Ivorian's intention to be reunited with former manager Roberto Martinez at Everton appears to have ended their interest.

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