Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse back to fitness with aim of keeping side in Premier League

Papiss Cisse goes close against Sunderland on Sunday.
Papiss Cisse goes close against Sunderland on Sunday.

Papiss Cisse’s desperate to fire Newcastle United up the Premier League – as relegation is unthinkable.

The striker, sidelined since December, made his long-awaited comeback off the bench in Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby.

Cisse – who was on the pitch when Aleksandar Mitrovic netted a dramatic late equaliser against Sunderland in the 1-1 draw – is looking to make up for lost time in the final eight games of the season.

Second-bottom Newcastle have a two-week wait for their next fixture, the April 2 visit to relegation-rivals Norwich City.

And Cisse, not called up by Senegal during the international break, will work on his fitness ahead of the club’s visit to Carrow Road.

“I’m happy come back to play for 10 minutes,” said Cisse, who netted two goals before succumbing to injury.

“I know I need to work hard. The team needs everyone now. The team needs to stay in the Premier League. That’s very important to me.

“It’s my objective to stay in the Premier League.

“In my head, Newcastle can’t go down. We just need to keep working hard and doing something good in the next game.”

Newcastle have struggled to score goals all season.

While Cisse would like to add to his tally between now and the end of the campaign, he doesn’t care who scores as long as United start winning games.

“It’s not easy for the strikers,” said the 30-year-old. “Everyone likes to score goals.

“Mitrovic scored a good goal and got a good point for the team.

“Maybe in the next game it’s Ayoze (Perez), me or Mitro again. We just have to be positive and work hard.

“I have one objective in my head and that’s to work for the team and get points for the team.”

Sunderland were the better team in the first half and deservedly took the lead through Jermain Defoe, but Newcastle improved after the break.

And Mitrovic met a Georginio Wijnaldum cross with his head to claim a point seven minutes from time.

“All the team worked very, very hard and did well second half,” said Cisse.

“The comeback was very important. It was positive.

“It was very difficult from the moment they scored. Everyone knew it would be very hard. We just had to keep working and try to score one goal, and maybe a second one.”