Alan Pardew is hoping Cheick Tiote's return will help Newcastle rediscover their best form.
The 26-year-old Ivory Coast international has been missing since damaging a calf muscle in the opening-day victory over Tottenham and the Magpies have rather laboured in his absence.
However, he is likely to play some part in Wednesday night's Capital One Cup third round trip to Manchester United after getting 14 minutes of Sunday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League win against Norwich under his belt.
Tiote is Pardew's midfield enforcer and while he may not be regarded as one of flair players in the squad, it is he who helps to provide the foundation for the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse to work their magic.
The manager said: "You have to have a platform to play. He gets a grip of a game and you can start to dominate with somebody like Cheick.
"He puts other teams on the back foot in many ways. He's a fantastic player and one of our most important players. We need to get him back in the team as quickly as we can, and I think he will feature on Wednesday."
Tiote, a £3.5million signing from FC Twente during the summer of 2010, provides bite in the middle of midfield - he was booked just 13 minutes into his return to action - but much more.
Asked what exactly he brings to the team, Pardew said: "Drive, passion, a determination to win whatever he is doing, whether it's table-tennis or a game of football, and an ability that many players can't reach. He is a fantastic player."
If Tiote's role against Norwich was a brief cameo, Ba once again took centre stage as he scored the only game of the goal, a cool finish from the excellent Ben Arfa's exquisite 19th-minute pass to end an eventful week with his fourth strike of the season.
The Senegal international, of course, found himself at odds with his club last week after being left out of the starting line-up at Everton, and his comments and those of his agent later sparked something of a fuss. However, Ba is happy to let his feet do the talking from now on.