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The former Magpies striker has hailed the Tyneside club’s current No.9, backing his partnership with Senegal international team-mate Demba Ba to flourish this season

Former Newcastle forward Les Ferdinand has praised the impact of striker Papiss Cisse, claiming that his start to life at the club could not have gone better.

Cisse joined the Magpies from German outfit Freiburg in January and has gone on to score an impressive 13 goals in just 15 Premier League appearances.

And Ferdinand, who enjoyed a distinguished two-year spell on Tyneside between 1995 and 1997, believes that the Senegal international is a worthy mantle-bearer of the club's famous No.9 shirt.

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"He couldn't have done much better," he told the club's official website. "He started so well, like Demba Ba did last season.

"Papiss came here and they gave him the No.9 shirt, and he's worthy of it so far. He has had a great first season, and he now needs to take that into this season.

"If he can improve on that then he's got a hell of year coming up."

Cisse's strike partner, Ba, had become much less prolific following his international team-mate's arrival last winter but started 2012-13 off promisingly by netting a fine strike in Saturday's 2-1 win over Tottenham.

And Ferdinand backed the pairing to continue improving, adding: "It's a great partnership and once it gets going I'm sure the goals will flow.

"They certainly get the fans excited and that's a good thing."

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