Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is hoping Cheick Tiote's return will help Newcastle rediscover their best form.
The Ivory Coast international has been missing since damaging a calf muscle in the opening-day victory over Tottenham.
The Magpies have not been at their best in his absence but Tiote made his return from the bench in Sunday's 1-0 Premier League win at home to Norwich.
The 26-year-old is now expected to be involved in Wednesday night's Capital One Cup third round trip to Manchester United and Pardew believes the return of his enforcer could be key.
"You have to have a platform to play," said the Newcastle boss.
"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."
Asked what it is that Tiote 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."
Although Newcastle have scored just six goals in their first five games, they do have eight points and Pardew is relieved that his team are still getting results while not in full flow.
He added: "I am really pleased with the results, if not the excitement levels. Our fans want to get off their seats and so do I.
"Don't think we want to grind results out, we don't. We want to play well and win.
"We are not doing that at the moment but I am still pleased that we have got enough nous to get the points."