LUUK de Jong has found his feet in the Premier League – and ready to make big strides at Newcastle United, according to Alan Pardew.
The on-loan striker is hoping to start against Hull City at the KC Stadium tomorrow.
De Jong impressed after coming off the bench in last weekend’s 1-0 home win over Aston Villa.
The 23-year-old had a hand in Loic Remy’s dramatic late winner, and also set up Remy minutes earlier, but his shot truck the post at St James’s Park.
De Jong, on a season-long loan from Borussia Monchengladbach, could be preferred ahead of misfiring Papiss Demba Cisse on Humberside.
United manager Pardew – who is “easing” the Holland international into English football – has previously handed de Jong starts against Chelsea and Sunderland.
And he feels de Jong is now up to speed.
“I’m sort of easing Luuk into the Premier League,” Pardew said. “He’s not used to it.
“I think he made a decent contribution (against Villa) his presence.
“He won a few headers, and showed quality in to feet.
“He’s finding his way, which is a big bonus.”
De Jong found opportunities hard to come by at Monchengladbach in the first half of the season, and arrived on Tyneside short of match sharpness and fitness.
And the challenge for de Jong is to earn a permanent move to Newcastle.
“Luuk’s made a good start,” said Pardew. “His fitness is improving, and he’s looking better and better. Hopefully, he’ll make a big contribution between now and the end of the season.”