Steve Clarke: This 30-year-old Newcastle player can inspire top flight survival
By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Papiss Cisse can be a key figure in Newcastle’s Premier League survival mission, according to Steve Clarke.
The former Magpies assistant manager believes the Senegal international will have been boosted by his goal on Saturday in the team’s sensational comeback at Liverpool.
Rafael Benitez’s side came from two goals down at half-time to draw 2-2 at Anfield to secure five points from their last three matches.
Newcastle remain 19th in the Premier League table but they are level on points with Sunderland and just one point behind Norwich in 17th, although both clubs have played fewer matches than Benitez’s side.
The new manager has put his faith in the experienced Cisse to lead the line in recent matches ahead of the more explosive Alexander Mitrovic.
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The Senegal international responded with his first goal since November when he headed in Vurnon Animals cross against Liverpool.
“They’ve struggled to score goals a little bit,” Clarke told the Goals on Sunday programme. “Cisse is a goalscorer, now he’s got one hopefully he’ll get more.
“He’s a confidence player like most strikers and that will do his confidence the world of good.”
Cisse has scored just three league goals this season in a truncated campaign in which he has been sidelined by injury for long periods.
With just a year remaining on his contract, he will be keen to provide a further reminder that he should be leading the front line next season.