Newcastle v Benfica: Alan Pardew faces balancing act over role of Papiss Cissé

Tyne-Wear derby awaits after Europa League tie

The image of Papiss Cissé screaming in joy and jumping into the Gallowgate End, one captured by a razor sharp supporter, against Fulham at St James' Park on Sunday, went viral. It was the third successive home game the forward had scored a winning goal in injury-time. It could prove the defining moment of Newcastle's season.

A clumsy question, before the Europa League quarter-final second leg with Benfica, about whether Cissé was the one player who could never be substituted, brought a telling response from Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager.

"Of course it's possible to substitute him," he said. "I've got Adam Campbell and Shola [Ameobi] breathing down his neck. That is the competition he has with Hatem [Ben Arfa] coming back. I think this is going to be a 14-man game. I will use 14 players, and whatever I feel is needed in that last period of the game, if Papiss needs to be refreshed, he will be."

Playing the full game (it could be 120 minutes) as sole, goalscoring centre-forward is not an option. But bringing Cissé on towards the closing stages is.

If the match is 0-0 with 20 minutes to go (Newcastle trail 3-1 from the first leg), throwing on Cissé could prove more effective. There is also the Premier League to consider. If Newcastle lose to Sunderland on Sunday, the gap between the two North-east teams will be two points, thrusting them back into a relegation fight that promises to have a brutal conclusion. Going down is not on the agenda, so Pardew has to plot the most precarious of paths. History on one hand (Newcastle have not won a major trophy since 1969), a huge step towards safety via a derby victory on the other.

"There would be clubs who would give their right arm to be where we are," he said. "We want to win by two goals and go through. The mentality is good. We must score twice without conceding. Every player wants to give everything. Unless you are one of the four or five biggest clubs in the country, to get to the quarter-final is something special. Our view is we were unlucky in Portugal.

"You never know [what will happen]. Looking at the Dortmund coach [Jürgen Klopp] he was in tears at the end of game. Would I be in tears? Possibly. We just want to do the best we can, and the best we can is to go through.

"If ever there was a week to underline that a game is never over it's this one, with our goal against Fulham, the late equaliser by Wigan [against QPR], and then the two goals at Dortmund. It was astonishing. It has given us a real sense of belief."

Pardew cannot play a full strength side. Steven Taylor is out with a knee injury but should be back on Sunday and Cheick Tioté will also not play, but will against Sunderland. Deciding what to do with Cissé, his only regular goalscorer, is proving more tricky.

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Jonathan de Guzman of the Netherlands and Willian of Brazil compete for the ball
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice