Pardew retains faith in Cisse
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has promised to do all he can to prevent striker Papiss Cisse from going the same way as Fernando Torres.
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9. Papiss Cisse
The 27-year-old Senegal international this season has looked a shadow of the man who scored 13 times - and often in spectacular fashion - in his first 14 appearances for the Magpies after completing a £9million January switch from Freiburg.
Cisse heads for Stoke with only three goals to his name this time around - one of those unwittingly off his backside - and with Pardew attempting to nurse him through a run of indifferent form.
Pardew said: "I am taking to him and trying to calm him, tell him that he's still he same player and we are still very confident in him.
"It's only been a small period if you compare it to, say Torres' period, but you would have to say it's something we are going to have to keep an eye on because we don't want it to end up like poor old Torres has ended up at times.
"He's a great player, Papiss, and we want to get the best out of him."
Torres has managed just 19 goals in 88 games for Chelsea since completing a £50million switch from Liverpool, for whom he scored 81 times in 142 appearances.
The Spaniard has rarely been able to replicate the form which established him among the top marksmen in the world at his peak, and one of former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo's last acts in the job was to drop him for a crucial Champions League trip to Juventus.
Cisse too has been in and out of the Newcastle team in recent weeks and has only a single Barclays Premier League goal to his name in the current campaign, a statistic both he and his manager would dearly love him to improve on at the Britannia Stadium.
The Magpies arrive in the Potteries hoping to avoid a fourth successive top-flight defeat for the first time in more than four years, but with injuries hampering Pardew's efforts to repeat last season's victory there.
The manager confirmed on Tuesday that Steven Taylor and Yohan Cabaye are likely to be missing until February, and the news did little to improve the mood around the training ground with recent results a major cause for concern.
Pardew said: "It doesn't help your mood. You have to lift yourself and look for the positives. The training ground is a negative place, to a degree, because everyone is feeling a little bit sorry for themselves, and you have to shake that out and be professional about it.
"But it does affect your mood, you can't help that, and there's a determination on our training ground to put it right.
"We are going to one of the most difficult places there is to do that, but nevertheless, that's what we are going to try to do."