By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
After scoring his sixth goal of the season from a right-sided berth, Papiss Cisse is set to be handed a central role for the rest of the campaign with Alan Pardew planning to build a side around the Senegalese striker.
With leading scorer Demba Ba expected to depart for Chelsea this week, the Newcastle number nine will be tasked with replacing his compatriot's goal return and Pardew has backed him to do exactly that.
The United boss explained that in the build-up to Wednesday night's home game with Everton, the players had trained with Ba playing as the main striker with Cisse and Gabriel Obertan either side of him so when Ba withdrew from the squad on the day of the match, Cisse remained on the right so as not to disrupt the gameplan.
But Pardew said: "We know he's a natural goalscorer at this football club.
"We'd set the team up for him to play on the side last night but he'll go through the middle from now on and hopefully we can create a team that's going to create chances for him."
That could mean he leads the line in the FA Cup with Budweiser third round tie at Brighton on Saturday, with Pardew set to name a strong team against the Seagulls - but the boss has hinted that a couple of fringe players could be handed an opportunity to impress at the Amex Stadium.
"We've got one or two young players that we'll bring in and I might change one or two of the faces to freshen it up a little bit but I think for us it's trying to win games and get some momentum, and obviously that will start at Brighton," he said.
"Sammy Ameobi came on (against Everton) and looked fresh and consistent and that's what we need out of them - consistency.
"I think there's a good chance that Sammy might play. He showed up well last night - I hope he takes that into Brighton if he gets the chance."
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