WANDERERS legend John McGinlay is backing Stuart Holden to bounce back from his latest injury setback.
The 28-year-old US international is again undergoing rehab work Stateside after yet another knee ligament injury picked up in his reserve comeback against Everton last month.
Scans after that brief appearance revealed he again faces a lengthy lay-off, estimated at between six and nine months.
His latest comeback lasted just 23 minutes and McGinlay admits he was gutted to see Holden suffer another blow.
But he is confident the midfielder will get back wearing the Whites shirt again next season.
The former Burnden idol told The Bolton News: “My heart goes out to Stuart – it was devastating to see him break down again.
“You wouldn’t wish the problems he has had in the last few years on any player, let alone such a nice guy who has had so much rotten luck.
“One thing he has going in his favour is his mental strength; he has shown that so many times and I just hope he gets back and playing for us again.”
Holden’s injury problems began in March 2011 when he was on the wrong end of an X-rated tackle by Manchester United defender Jonny Evans at Old Trafford.
A succession of problems has since restricted him to just one start for Wanderers – in a League Cup tie against Aston Villa in September 2011 – and only four substitute appearances.
And McGinlay, who celebrated his 50th birthday on Tuesday, says he has been a huge miss during that three-year spell.
He added: “Stuart has got to be one of the best players we have had in the last few years.
“Not only is he a great player but the club means a lot to him.
“He epitomises everything you want at a football club with his spirit, desire and skill.
“I think everyone just has their fingers crossed he can get back for good this time.”