WANDERERS’ worst fears over Stuart Holden may soon be realised, with the popular midfielder expected to face another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The club confirmed yesterday the American will undergo a scan to assess the damage caused to his right knee in an Under-21 game against Everton at the Reebok before he returns to consult surgeons on his next move.

What that means for Holden’s future remains unclear at this point but the 28-year-old cited an inspirational quote from legendary leader Nelson Mandela yesterday on his official Twitter account that suggests he is not considering giving up the fight to resume his career.

Fans waited for news on the midfielder after he limped off just 23 minutes into the development squad game on Monday night, which marked his first public appearance on the pitch since the Gold Cup final in July where he tore his anterior cruciate ligament playing for the USA against Panama.

Wanderers yesterday revealed an assessment was being made on the “resurfacing” of last summer’s injury.

The club have refused to comment further other than to confirm the player will now meet the same surgeon that operated on him last summer to decide the next course of action.

Holden’s last knee injury kept him out of action for seven months, although hopes were high that he could finally end a desperately unfortunate spell after altering his running style during his most recent bout of rehabilitation. The former Houston Dynamo star has been beset by injury problems in the last three years, starting just one game for Bolton and making four substitute appearances since March 2011.

His problems appear to have stemmed from an X-rated challenge from Manchester United defender Jonny Evans at Old Trafford that left him with a broken femur, close to the left knee joint, and a gash needing 26 stitches.

He required a second bout of surgery in September 2011 but looked to have got back to his best last summer after a loan spell with Sheffield Wednesday before being struck down again playing in the Gold Cup.

Despite his lay-off, Holden has also had informal talks with Wanderers over a new deal next season – and it remains to be seen whether his most recent blow will impact upon that.