Glenn Roeder says Oguchi Onyewu is on the road to earning a permanent contract at Newcastle.
The giant American has played two games since making his loan move from Standard Liege last month and his efforts against Fulham and Liverpool have impressed Roeder.
The Newcastle chief has also been impressed with Onyewu's attitude and has challenged him to earn a permanent deal.
"He was one of the few players last week at Fulham who came out of the game with credit, and it was a big home debut for him in front of 52,000 people," Roeder told the club's website.
"But he's a tough guy who's very, very mentally strong and doesn't appear to have many nerves.
"The longer the game went on, the better he got. He got in some terrific headers.
"The longer he succeeds here, who knows, he might get the contract he's desperate to earn here. And I'm delighted for him - he's a real good guy."
Onyewu, meanwhile, has admitted he enjoyed his battle with Craig Bellamy at the weekend.
Former Newcastle striker Bellamy led the line for Liverpool at St James' Park and fired The Reds ahead, but Onyewu believes the Welshman did not overly enjoy their battle."My size and strength are big assets and I don't think Bellamy liked that too much being half my size," said the American.
"He never shuts up. When you come across players like him, you've just got to laugh at them.
"Bellamy is a handful, he's very quick and tries to get into the heads of defenders with his talk.
"From his history I know he's a very good player but, all in all, we handled him well."