Rafa Benitez has heaped praise on 'great professional' Grant Hanley ahead of tomorrow's trip to Wolves.
And the manager has faith that, should he retain his place in United's starting XI at Molineux, he will reproduce his solid Derby County performance this weekend.
Rafa said: "We are happy with his contribution and hopefully he can do better between now and the end of the season."
Hanley faces a battle with Jamaal Lascelles for a starting spot at the heart of Newcastle United's backline for tomorrow's evening's Championship clash (kick-off 5.30pm).
Club captain Lascelles was taken out of the team for last week's encounter with a slight groin problem, having to settle for a place on the bench.
But in the squad and fully fit this weekend Benitez has to choose between Scotland international Hanley, who did himself no harm with a cracking show in the 1-0 St James' Park win over Steve McClaren's Rams, and former England youth international Lascelles, who has had a dip in form of late.
The manager continued: "We signed him (Grant Hanley) because we were looking for players with experience in the Championship.
"He is a great professional, good for the team spirit, and when he has had to play he has done well."