Cheick Tiote admits he has a battle on his hands to get back in the Newcastle side for this weekend's clash with Manchester City.
The Ivory Coast midfielder is back to full fitness after missing the last two Premier League games against Stoke and Everton with a knee injury.
In his absence Danny Guthrie has staked his claim for a regular spot in Alan Pardew's starting XI and Tiote knows he faces a fight to regain his place in the side.
"It's been very frustrating for me to have missed the last two games, especially as we have started the season so well," Tiote told the Evening Chronicle. "Danny came in and did a very good job too.
"He fitted into the team so well. It shows how good our squad is and also that even if I am fit, the manager has options to change the team.
"It is good that we all have to fight for our positions in the team. Dan Gosling did well too when he came on, and he is pushing for a starting place."
Tiote insists the trip to league leaders City will hold no fears for Newcastle as they look to maintain their unbeaten Premier League record.
"Going to Manchester City is something we are looking forward to. I think it is our toughest game yet, but we're not afraid of the challenge," added Tiote.
"They were incredible against Manchester United a few weeks ago and have been scoring a lot of goals, but we have the best defence in the league and we hope that will mean we can get a good result."