Rafa Benitez could have both Fabricio Coloccini and Papiss Cisse available for Sunday’s crucial game against Sunderland.

News on injuries has been minimal in recent weeks and months with not even confirmation by the club as to what is the problem with certain players, such as Cheick Tiote.

Whilst with others, they continue to be missing long after the initial expected return dates, with again little or no updates as the weeks pass by.

Papiss Cisse certainly fits into this latter description, his last appearance was when he started against Aston Villa in the 1-1 home draw, three weeks ago.

When asked about the striker, Rafa Benitez said:

“We now have Cisse coming back but we will see in the training session – to take a risk with a player who is not fully fit is difficult.

“But if he scores two or three goals in the training session…then we will have to change our mind.”

It would be a surprise to see Papiss Cisse start the derby even if passed fit, with his form matching that of most of the rest of his failing team-mates this season.

However, to have him on the bench would be a major plus. Despite only starting 11 Premier League games last season, Cisse still managed 11 goals – goals which ultimately kept United up.

It wouldn’t be a hard choice who to bring on this Sunday if you had to choose between Riviere, Doumbia and Cisse if Newcastle were looking for a goal to win, or save, the game.

As for Coloccini, the Newcastle Manager said:

“We will have to check during the week – it is difficult to say when a player has been injured for a few weeks

“After it is not easy, we’ll have to train and then we will have a clearer idea.”

Lascelles and Taylor, along with the rest of the defence, looked a little better against Leicester but it is a difficult choice if Coloccini is fit to start.

At his best he clearly is superior to the other two but we have seen that best all too rarely.

Maybe Sunday could be the day that he steps up and takes responsibility, then leads Newcastle to a vital three points.

It would be about time after these six shocking derby defeats.