Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has backed Papiss Cissé in a season where he has failed to match his lethal form of last season. Registering just nine goals in all competitions this season, the 27 year old striker has netted three times in his last six Premier League games, including the late winner in Sunday's 2-1 win over Stoke City.

However, Pardew believes the Senegal striker's all-round contribution has been valuable for the Magpies.

"He's still had a great year for us - without the goals," Pardew told the Evening Chronicle.

"In some respects he's played a lot better for us this year, his game has improved. He just hasn't got the goals and they haven't broken for him.

"That goal will do him the world of good. You can't take somebody like him off unless the game plan changes."