Rene Meulensteen admits the return of Brede Hangeland is a "massive boost" for Fulham's Premier League survival bid.
Towering centre-back Hangeland has not featured since October due to a sciatic nerve problem, but could make his comeback in Tuesday night's FA Cup replay against Norwich.
Fulham are just one point ahead of 18th-placed Cardiff after 21 games - but have the worst goal difference in the league at minus 24.
The Cottagers have shipped in 46 league goals so far, conceding four goals in defeats to Sunderland, Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton - and letting Hull City hit them for six at the KC Stadium on December 28.
Meulensteen is hoping Hangeland brings some composure to the Fulham backline - and admits he is an attacking threat too.
The Cottagers boss, who is likely to name Hangeland on the bench against Norwich, told the Fulham Chronicle: "It's a massive boost to have him back because he has been here for so long and knows the club inside out.
"He knows how important it is to get things back on track and has been very frustrated with the injury. He's knocking on the door and is raring to go.
"He's an experienced central defender who is calm on the ball and capable of playing out of the back and feeding the ball to the midfield.
"He's an attacking threat in the opposition box with set-plays and corners as well."