Holden tribute was better than cup win - Dougie
THE Wanderers boss has revealed Stuart Holden was given a standing ovation by team-mates on his return from injury on Tuesday night.
And Dougie Freedman said the gesture was better than the FA Cup victory over Sunderland...or beating any team.
After featuring in his first competitive match since September 2011, and only his second since March the same year, his fellow Wanderers players acknowledged the American’s incredible comeback from serious injury at the Stadium of Light.
“In the dressing room after the game, the rest of the squad gave Stuart a big round of applause,” Freedman said. “That for me was better than any result. It was welcoming back one of their own.”
Holden is fit enough to start against Crystal Palace tomorrow and Freedman admits there is a temptation to throw him into the game for his first league outing in 22 months.
“He's back in the set-up and he's itching to go,” he said. “I have got a really big decision as to when I drop him back into it – but let me get two hours a night sleep on that one!”
With David Wheater expected to feature for the reserves at Leyland on Monday night – his first outing since damaging knee ligaments back in April last year – Freedman is close to having a full squad available.
Mark Davies and Matt Mills are also only a couple of weeks away, which has created a positive mood in the dressing room that hasn't always been there over the last 12 months.
“I don't want to look back but the club has been through a hell of a lot in the last two or three years – last year in particular,” the manager said.
“I want to look forward. I can see that the loss of Wheater and Holden for a squad is difficult, it's hard to pick yourself back up. They are good, experienced players.
“To have them coming back is great for everyone.”