Gus Poyet suspects that fellow midfielder Simon Davies has been a big miss for the team in recent weeks.
The Welsh international midfielder has been absent with a shin problem since the Leicester game five weeks ago after playing a big part in the winning of five Premiership games out of seven after the turn of the year.
"Simon makes very good runs, he is very good on the ball and you know when you pass to him he can hold it - he is not going to lose too many balls," said Gus. "This is very important for a team.
"He is a player that can play in any place across the midfield - right, left, centre or just behind the strikers. He can help you everywhere because he is very good running forward, he knows where to move and it can make a difference.
"It has been a sad season for Simon as he has been frustrated by injuries."
Meanwhile, Gus admits to a little frustration of his own after finding himself sidelined in recent weeks as Ledley King, Michael Brown and the returning Jamie Redknapp appear to be jostling for the central midfield slots.
"I am a bit disappointed as I would like to help," he added. "I know it is a new generation in terms of team selection and I try to accept it."