Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By FRANK MCCAULEY

NEW­CAS­TLE ace Papiss Cisse has been with­drawn from the Sene­gal squad for tonight’s friendly with South Africa.

The 26-year-old striker left the pitch with a groin in­jury dur­ing the Mag­pies’ 2-2 draw with Wolves on Satur­day.

A New­cas­tle spokesman said: “Af­ter be­ing as­sessed by the club’s med­i­cal staff, Cisse will not take part in Sene­gal’s friendly.”

Toon boss Alan Pardew will be keep­ing his fin­gers crossed that his big-money Jan­uary sign­ing will re­cover in time for Sun­day’s derby clash with Sun­der­land.

Cisse has made three ap­pear­ances for the Mag­pies af­ter re­turn­ing from the African Na­tions Cup and has scored in each of his two home games, in­clud­ing the draw with Wolves.

Pardew is hopeful that his part­ner­ship with com­pa­triot Demba Ba, who has 16 goals to his name so far this sea­son, will help New­cas­tle main­tain their chal­lenge for a top-six Premier League fin­ish.

But while three pre­cious points are at stake this week­end, there is also lo­cal pride to play for as the men from Ty­ne­side at­tempt to com­plete a league dou­ble over their arch ri­vals.

New­cas­tle won the cor­re­spond­ing fix­ture 5-1 last sea­son, and in­flicted a 1-0 de­feat on the Black Cats when the two sides met in Au­gust.

HAPPY DAYS: Steven Ger­rard didn’t seem to mind lift­ing the Car­ling Cup

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