Steven Taylor believes Fabricio Coloccini could help Newcastle United steer clear of the Premier League relegation zone.
The Argentine defender returned to first-team action against West Ham on Saturday after missing 12 games with a back injury.
And Taylor is delighted to have his defensive partner back ahead of the final two games of the season.
“We have a great partnership together,” Taylor told the Sunderland Echo.
“The defence against West Ham was very good along with the midfield. We needed that. The fans wanted a response from the Liverpool game, and they got one.”
Wigan lost 3-2 to Swansea City on Tuesday, meaning they failed to go level on points with Newcastle, but Taylor insisted that the club can only focus on their own fight.
“We can only concentrate on ourselves,” added Taylor.
“In the past two years Wigan seem to do well at this time of the season, but we can’t rely on what they do. We just need to focus on ourselves. If we get three points, it could help put this to bed and move us up the table.”
Newcastle, Norwich City and Sunderland all remain on 38 points, three ahead of Wigan with two Premier League fixtures left to play.