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Position by Position Preview: Striker

For a season and a half, Newcastle were sitting pretty up top with Ba or Cissé banging goals in for fun... until they sold Demba #1 to Chelsea.

Yeah... we feel that way too, Shola
Yeah... we feel that way too, Shola
Shaun Botterill

There is little doubt that Papiss Cissé is going to be given yards of rope.  The most expensive purchase of the 2011 January transfer window was given the Newcastle No. 9 shirt and lived up to every bit of expectation that came with it in the second half of that season.  The 2012/13 season was a different matter.

It was never likely that the form that Papiss was in that led to *that* goal against Chelsea would be continued (at least at that rate), but in the perfect storm that was injury and drop of form to nearly every player in the Newcastle squad, the lack of goal scoring in the 2012-13 season was exaggerated beyond the reality.  The service quality that was present in the 2011-12 season was largely not present, not to mention that for the first half of the season the "Striker preference" switch for the service that was available to the strikers until January was turned to "Demba Ba".

The theme running through these previews applies to Mr. Cissé as well - any success for Newcastle United this season will be dependent upon his return to form closer to 2011/12 than last season.  It's not as though he has forgotten how to score goals (or for that matter, un-learned the offside rule.  Let's be honest, as much of that depends on service as positioning from Papiss).  His propensity to score the spectacular last season while missing the clinical is what must happen less.

Loïc Rémy

Most famous for being the one that got away in January (reportedly on the strength of a FIFA game with QPR owner Tony Fernandes and nothing to do with obscene wage numbers), Loïc is a player who could play a very big role for Newcastle this season.  Scoring 6 times in 14 matches for an abject QPR side has shown that the Premier League stage and competition level is one at which he can find comfort and success - and with Bedo Fif's failure to strengthen the position with permanent transfers over the summer, we may depend on it.  If he ever gets healthy, that is.  Latest reports have indicated that Rémy will miss at least the first month of the season.

Shola Ameobi

Shola has made a career's worth of reputation out of a famous goal against Barcelona at the Bernabéu as a 21 year old.  Since then, he has failed to deliver on what Toon fans had hoped he would become, scoring double digits only twice in his career - once in the Championship season.  Perhaps the most encouraging development for those Shola fans out there, however, was the 31-year old earning his first cap for Nigeria.  He has become, then, another of the players who will be looking to impress in order to earn a potential trip to Brazil for World Cup 2014.  It would not be surprising to see a motivated (!) Ameobi in the time that he may get this season.

Haris Vučkić

Haris is a name that has floated around the senior squad for seemingly forever... enough so that the fact he is 20 years old may surprise some like it does me on a regular basis.  Often considered as an AM, it has looked more likely that he will be considered in a more CF type of role.  In the preseason and action for the reserves this preseason, he has looked impressive and given glimpses of fulfilling his promise.  If he can stay healthy, he should feature regularly, potentially as a substitute as well as a more prominent role in the Cups.

Adam Campbell

If actions speak louder than words, it seems that Vučkić has, at least temporarily, overtaken Campbell in Alan Pardew's reckoning.  Adam was regularly in matchday squads and did get some run in the Premier League.  Although he has been loaned out for the early season (1 month) , it is probable that he will return to a similar position in the senior squad, but largely in a substitute role.

Bafétimbi Gomis

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang