USA star Stuart Holden on target for Bolton Wanderers pre-season comeback
That was the good news coming from the training camp at Euxton yesterday, where the American has now rejoined his team-mates for the final two games of the season while continuing his rehab work.
Holden’s second successive cruciate ligament operation, coming on the back of another pair of serious injuries to his other knee, had the gloom-mongers forecasting an early end to his Whites career.
But while Dougie Freedman issued a note of warning with his revelation that the 28-year-old midfielder could be back in the camp permanently for pre-season, he admitted Holden was ahead of schedule.
“I’m quite looking forward to having him back,” he told The Bolton News. “He goes back over to the States at the end of the season, where’s he’s training with a girl who’s part of the national team.
“He’ll be there for six to eight weeks but I’m hoping we’ll see him back here when for pre-season at the end of June. I’d like to think he’d be in the right condition to start again with us.
“After his work last time his conditioning is very good, it’s just a case of strengthening that knee.
“Of course, we can’t get ahead of ourselves – he’s had serious injuries before – but that’s the plan.”
That Holden is due back in the camp suggests his contract, which expires this summer, is not a pressing issue.
Freedman insists he has made no financial arrangements with the player but wants to give him every chance to prove he can come back and play regular football in the Championship. “There’s no agreement,” he said. “Stuart’s not had the best of times playing-wise and it would be very unfair of me just to end it there.
“I see he’s a great guy and a great character but obviously we’d like to come to an arrangement that suits everyone.
“I’ve said to him to come back in pre-season and see how he goes.
“He’s injured and I don’t think he’s going to go and sign for anybody so we haven’t made an actual agreement on a deal.”
Holden’s last competitive start was for Sheffield Wednesday in a loan spell last season when he made four appearances and helped steer the Hillsborough side clear of relegation.