Newcastle V Stoke at St James' Park : LIVE
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Pardew hopeful of Cisse return
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will hope to have striker Papiss Cisse back in the fold for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Stoke.
The Senegal international missed the 0-0 Europa League draw with Anzhi Makhachkala, which the Magpies started without a specialist frontman, through illness but could return for the game at St James' Park.
Full-back Mathieu Debuchy and striker Yoan Gouffran, who were ineligible in Moscow, will be available once again, as will midfielder Jonas Gutierrez, who was spared 90 minutes on the artificial pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium because of a knee problem, but skipper Fabricio Coloccini (back) is out for up to seven weeks and keeper Tim Krul continues his recovery from an ankle injury.
Before they start to consider the possibility of booking a place in a European quarter-final, Pardew will focus fully on Stoke.
He will do so having seen his January spending mission pay dividends once again in Russia with newcomers Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Massadio Haidara among the star performers.
Pardew said: "We are so much stronger in depth, I think that's evident. Massadio and Mapou really and truly are pushing for first team places, and they proved that.
"(Sylvain) Marveaux is beginning to push as well, and that's what you want, you want your best players pushed.
"I am hoping our team will be stronger on Thursday in the return, but I have got to get a result against Stoke and I have got to get a positive result to give me the freedom to do that.
"I don't really want to go to Wigan (next weekend) on the back of a defeat by Stoke."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis is hoping Matthew Etherington could be fit.
The winger has been struggling with a back injury and has had injections but has trained the last couple of days and has a chance.
Robert Huth serves the second game of a three-match ban so Marc Wilson is likely to deputise in the centre of defence again while striker Michael Owen (thigh) is fit and will be desperate to get a chance against his old club.
Pulis expects Pardew's side to finish the campaign strongly.
He said: "Alan won the manager of the year last year and the club had a great season.
"I think he's had two problems really: one has been he had loads of injuries at the beginning of the season, and then they've had to cope with the Europa League, playing on a Thursday and then coming back.
"But in the window he signed some good players and now everybody's fit they've got a very strong squad. They'll get through this season no problems and they'll be a force next year."
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