PAPISS Demba Cisse has been told to hit form in the Capital One Cup to earn himself a Premier League recall.
The striker’s only goal this season came against Leeds United in the last round of the competition.
And Cisse will lead the line for Newcastle in tonight’s fourth-round tie against Manchester City at St James’s Park.
The 28-year-old was unstoppable two seasons ago after his arrival on Tyneside in January last year, with his goals effectively clinching fifth place in the Premier League – and European football.
But Cisse struggled for form last term and he is yet to rediscover his goalscoring touch this season.
And he looked worryingly out of sorts after coming off the bench against Sunderland in Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby defeat.
But United manager Alan Pardew will hand him a start in the belief that a goal could bring him to life.
“I think he needs a goal,” said Pardew, who could also recall striker Shola Ameobi.
“He needs to play well. When he was firing, we looked a different team. We need to get him firing.
“This will give him an opportunity to do that.
“He’s come out of the team. Sometimes you need to reflect and really focus on when you play. Hopefully, he’ll play well.”
Cisse was left playing catch-up with his fitness in July after his dispute with the club over wearing a Wonga-branded jersey saw him miss Newcastle’s pre-season tour of Portugal.
Meanwhile, defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is confident Newcastle have learned from their experience at the City of Manchester Stadium on their opening night of the season.
United were crushed 4-0 buy Yanga-Mbiwa says they must turn that negative into a positive tonight.
“We need to play and remember the first game with Man City,” said the France international, who is set to return to the starting XI following a suspension.
“That helps us do well to prove to ourselves and the fans that this was a mistake. We must learn from it.
“If we play well we can go through. We all want to do well to help ourselves to move up and continue to do well.”
The domestic cups aren’t a “priority” for United’s hierarchy given the over-riding importance of staying in the Premier League.
However, Yanga-Mbiwa insists the club’s players are keen for a cup run.
“We are Newcastle United,” he said. “We need to play well against clubs in the league, but we must also try to win cups.
“We want to go to the quarter-finals.”
Yanga-Mbiwa was banned from Sunday’s derby after being sent off for hauling down Luis Suarez on his last appearance against Liverpool. He said: “It is hard watching. I like to play and to help my squad mates.”