8:00am Thursday 7th February 2013
By Marc Iles
STUART Holden reckons only the unpredictable Lancashire weather has stopped him travelling even further down the road to full fitness.
The American midfielder played his first 90-minute game since September, 2011, for the development squad on Tuesday afternoon in a specially-arranged friendly at Euxton.
It was a big hurdle for Holden who, in playing the full match, allayed any lingering fears over the ankle injury that saw him limp off at Hyde United on Friday night.
But while the 27-year-old insists he is pleased with his progress so far, he admits the recent snow and rain has played havoc with his comeback efforts overall.
“It was another step forward for me, I felt good out on the pitch and to play the full game was great,” he said. “It was a big step for me physically and in myself I am feeling good, and now I just want to keep on track and keep progressing.
“The only thing that hasn’t helped, would you believe, is the weather. I have had a few games that have been called off so we have had to tweak the programme. “It’s going well and the medical team have been keeping a real close eye on me. They have got me working to a very detailed and carefully planned training and rehab schedule.” Holden has featured twice for Dougie Freedman’s first team in recent weeks, coming on as a substitute against Everton and Sunderland in the FA Cup.
Fans are understandably clamouring for him to be back in league action as soon as possible, but the midfielder may have to wait a while longer before being passed for a regular place in the team.
“I have had great support from my family friends and of course the club and supporters,” he said. “The fans have been really good, messages and encouragement, and nice words when I am out and about, so again I would like to thank everyone for that.
“To be back out there and the reception I got from the Bolton fans at both Sunderland and the Reebok, was a really special moment for me - it was a great feeling and we are sticking to the plan and making sure all the boxes are ticked and I am 100 per cent.”
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