NEWCASTLE United have clubbed together with three other teams to get Papiss Demba Cisse and his Senegal team-mates out of Africa.
The clubs hired a private jet to get Cisse, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mame Biram Diouf and Sadio Mane back to England.
And head coach John Carver hopes to have nine-goal Cisse available for tomorrow’s visit to Hull City.
Newcastle, West Ham United, Stoke City and Southampton had been frustrated at a lack of urgency on the part of the Senegalese Football Federation to make travel arrangements.
Senegal were knocked out of the African Cup of Nations on Tuesday night, and it looked like the players would NOT return in time for this weekend’s fixtures.
But the clubs took matters into their own hands by jointly chartering a jet.
Carver hopes Cisse will meet up with his club colleagues at the team hotel tonight ahead of the Premier League game at the KC Stadium.
“We’re trying to get him back,” said Carver.
“Senegal’s FA haven’t been too helpful, and we’re not happy about that.
“Southampton, West Ham and Stoke are also trying to get their players back. Hopefully, he’ll be available for the weekend.
“We’ve been trying to get in touch with him and it hasn’t been easy, but I have spoken to his agent, and I have left a message with Papiss.
“Lee (Charnley, United’s managing director) has spoken to the Senegalese FA, and they have not been very helpful.
“So, I think there is a group of clubs with their players who have got together and we are trying to put a plane on to bring them back.”
Asked if he would be back in time to play a part at Hull, Carver added: “Hopefully, he’ll be back for Friday, meet us in the hotel Friday night and be involved Saturday.
“He hasn’t had a great deal of football when he’s been over.”
Cisse – who only made one substitute appearance at the tournament in Equatorial Guinea – is Newcastle’s leading scorer, and Carver is desperate to have him available.
The 29-year-old made his comeback from long-term injury off the bench against Hull at St James’s Park in September – and scored two goals to claim a point for United.
“He’s hugely important,” said Carver. “We were 2-0 down against Hull earlier in the season, and he came on and got the two goals.
“He’s our top goalscorer, and the only way you are going to win football matches is by having your top goalscorer around.
“I think he’s fit. He came on (against Algeria on Tuesday night), I didn’t really watch it, but Stoney (first-team coach Steve Stone) watched a bit of it, and said he was there in the right areas to get a goal.”
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, keen to have Kouyate back for tomorrow’s game at Liverpool, also told of his frustration.
Asked about the problems his club had faced, Allardyce said: “I think the usual – the lack of organisation, of booking people’s flights to come back.
“We’ve had to take responsibility and get it sorted out.
“We’ve got with two other clubs and have stumped up for a private jet for six players all to come back together.
“The chairman – as well as the ones from the others clubs – was good enough to split that cost to make sure we get them back for this weekend.”