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Pardew boosted by Cisse U-turn
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has received a welcome boost with the news that striker Papiss Cisse has agreed to wear the club's new Wonga-sponsored shirt.
Press Association Sport understands the 28-year-old and the club have managed to iron out the problem with Cisse initially refusing to wear the payday loans company's branding because of his religious beliefs.
The former Freiburg frontman is a Muslim and earning interest is forbidden by Islamic Law.
Cisse enlisted the help of the Professional Footballers' Association in a bid to find a solution, and it appears that peace has now broken out at St James' Park.
The development came days after the Senegal international was pictured in a national newspaper at a city casino. Gambling is also prohibited by his religion.
While Newcastle are yet to confirm Cisse's re-think, Pardew will be delighted to have his most prolific striker back among the fold after a less than spectacular start to the club's pre-season campaign.
Shola Ameobi scored against both Rio Ave and Pacos de Ferreira during the Magpies' trip to Portugal earlier this week, but he and January signing Yoan Gouffran were the only senior frontmen available to the 52-year-old with new director of football Joe Kinnear yet to land any of the club's summer targets.
Pardew, Kinnear and chief scout Graham Carr have identified the men they would like to bring to Tyneside with Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis and Aston Villa's Darren Bent at the top of the list, although the Irishman's best efforts have come to nothing so far.
That has left the manager pleading for progress with the start of the new Barclays Premier League season barely three weeks away.
In the circumstances, Cisse's continued presence - the £9million man has been linked with both Anzhi Makhachkala and Rubin Kazan in recent weeks - represents a positive.
He launched his career in England in spectacular style when he scored 13 goals, many of them breathtaking, in his first 14 appearances after his arrival from Germany in January last year.
Cisse was initially asked to play a wider role at the start of the last campaign to accommodate compatriot Demba Ba, and although the latter's January move to Chelsea handed him his preferred role once again, he managed only 13 goals for the entire season as the Magpies only just managed to avoid relegation.
Whether Newcastle continue to pursue two strikers following his decision remains to be seen, but fans who have been dismayed to see Steve Harper, Danny Simpson and James Perch leave the club with no additions to date - they are the only top-flight outfit yet to sign a senior player - will hope reinforcements will arrive soon and in numbers.