Steve Bruce has assured Marcos Angeleri that he still has a role to play at Sunderland this season.
The Argentina defender joined the Black Cats from Estudiantes in July, penning a three-year contract.
He has, however, struggled to make an impact in English football and is yet to be handed a first-team debut.
Bruce, though, insists Angeleri remains in his thoughts, with a niggling knock having held him back.
He claims the 27-year-old could come into contention over the coming weeks, allowing him to kick-start his Premier League career.
Bruce said: "He has started to look the part and I'm liking what I am seeing more and more.
"The knee injury held him back a bit, but he is coming to terms with the rigours of training and has improved a lot."
Bruce has also offered hope to his other South American stars, with Paraguayan pair Paulo da Silva and Cristian Riveros informed that they may be required over the hectic festive period.
He added: "Paulo comes into contention, as does Cristian Riveros.
"Riveros may not have been on the bench recently, but that does not mean he is slipping out of the picture."