The Rams' manager told the Derby Telegraph: "Yes, absolutely. There's no doubt about that. When he came here we wanted to take him permanently.
"I have known him for a couple of years. I took him to [Dutch side FC] Twente, for two weeks, and I have always kept my eye on him.
"I think he has always been a good player but to make a difference you have to have an end product, you have to score or assist. Simon is proving a big asset for us. He has got stronger and fitter with each game."
Dawkins has scored two goals in six appearances since joining Derby in October.