Pardew pleads with Newcastle fans to be patient with Cisse
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has urged the club's fans to be patient as new signing Papiss Demba Cisse attempts to handle the pressure of filling the club's famous No 9 shirt.
The 26-year-old Senegal international completed a sensational transfer to the Magpies from German club Freiburg on a whistlestop visit to Tyneside from his country's African Nations Cup training camp.
He will have to wait until next month at the earliest to make his debut, and will then face the task of following in the footsteps of the likes of Jackie Milburn, Malcolm Macdonald, Alan Shearer and most recently, Andy Carroll.
Getting his man: Alan Pardew was delighted to sign Papiss Demba Cisse
Pardew is confident he will cope, but knows he will need time to settle into his new role.
He said: 'He's not young, he's a good age. He is in the prime of his career. He has been under pressure in is career, so he understands it.
'He is going to be surprised at the pressure that comes with this, but I think he will attack it in an honest way. He's an honest footballer and I think our fans appreciate that.
'I hope they have a little bit of patience at the start because he is going to find it difficult to get in the team, let alone be worthy of the jersey, so I hope our fans are patient with him and give him every opportunity.'
Past No 9s: Alan Shearer and more recently Andy Carroll have worn the shirt
Cisse will at least be able to gain a little insight into life at Newcastle during the tournament with international team-mate Demba Ba having assumed the mantle of goalscoring hero with little difficulty during his first six months or so with the club.
Ba's 15 goals to date have helped to ease the Magpies into sixth place in the Barclays Premier League, and led Pardew to admit recently that had he known just how soon he would hit top form, he would have handed him the number nine shirt when he signed him during the summer.
In the event, it is Cisse who has been given that honour, although his new manager admits the player might not yet understand just what that means.
He said: 'I have tried to explain that to the player, but I don't think he is going to understand it until he arrives.'
Making his mark: Cisse's international team-mate Demba Ba has been a big hit on Tyneside
However, Cisse himself insists he is well aware of the history of the shirt he has inherited, and is relishing the chance to prove himself worthy of it.
He said: 'Yes, number nine. I talked a lot about that with the manager and he made sure I knew that the number nine is a number that is not a big number, it is a legendary number for this team.
'I promise that I will do what is required of me wearing this number.
'What I want to do is show I am worth the money to make people confident in me. They have brought me here and I don't want to disappoint them.
'I want to do my best to show them they were right to have confidence in me, and I want to pay them back.'
Ba, of course, has been linked with a move away from Tyneside this month after it emerged that there is a release clause in his contract.
However, Pardew is expecting the pair to play in tandem, although he has warned them not to expect to walk straight into the team on their return from Africa with Leon Best and Hatem Ben Arfa in particular having already risen to the challenge.
He said: 'Who's to say when they come back, they haven't got themselves a battle
'That's what great football clubs do. You have got to create that competition.'