John Carver: Papiss Cisse could be key to Newcastle's survival chances

Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse needs to hit the ground running after serving lengthy ban.

Newcastle United boss John Carver has told the Chronicle that Papiss Cisse could be vital for his side in their fight against the drop.

Newcastle have not won any of their last nine Premier League games and currently sit just two points above the relegation zone.

Their form is hugely worrying, but Carver has been boosted by the return of his main goalscoring hope.

Cisse has not started a game for Newcastle since way back in March, after being handed a seven-match ban for spitting at Manchester United defender Jonny Evans, but Carver believes that he could be a difference-maker as the season reaches crunch time.

“He could be huge," he said. “What we have to bear in mind is he was supposed to be out for 12 to 14 weeks but because of the personality of the player he came back quicker and fitter than we thought.

“He didn’t have any football in terms of behind closed doors or Under-21s before last weekend. So that was his first bit of football in eight weeks.

“He did OK, but as we all know the Premier League for 90 minutes is quite vigorous.”

Newcastle have looked short of quality going forward over recent weeks, so having Cisse in their team is a major positive.

The Senegalese striker may not be fully match-sharp, having made his return to action off the bench against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, but he is a clinical finisher and his return of 11 goals from 21 matches this season shows his class.

Cisse has little time to re-discover his shooting boots, though, as Newcastle could fall into the bottom three this weekend, if they were to lose to Queens Park Rangers, and they will need him firing on all cylinders if they are to claim the three points.

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