Mark Davies and Stuart Holden well on the road to recovery at Bolton Wanderers
TWO most welcome surprises are waiting on the horizon for Wanderers fans if confident talk from the treatment room is anything to go by.
Mark Davies has been out of the first-team equation since February with a cruciate ligament injury but is now in the final leg of his recovery and pencilled in for a return to action by the end of the year.
Stuart Holden may have to wait a little longer before making his comeback but news that the American midfielder is also making excellent progress has also been met with measured optimism in the Wanderers camp.
Mark Leather, the club’s head of sports science, is carefully monitoring both players’ rehabilitation and believes there is reason for optimism that they can play a significant part for the Whites in the New Year.
“It is steady progress but I think if it goes as well for Mark over the course of next month as it did in the previous one, then he won’t be far away from full training and then some sort of competitive games,” he told The Bolton News.
“I would hope by the end of the year that he is knocking on the first-team door.
“The manager is really good in terms of there isn’t pressure being put on us. Of course he wants him back but in the safest possible time.
“I don’t honestly know with Stuart if, say he was back by the end of February, how long it would take for him to be back into the swing of things but from a personal point of view people at the club would be so pleased to see him make a full recovery whether that be February, March or April.
“From a purely selfish point of view as a Bolton fan it would be an amazing addition to the squad at the right time of the season.
“He’ll be thinking exactly the same but also from his personal perspective, also knocking on the door and hoping to go to a World Cup.”
Holden was quoted recently as saying he had not given up on making the US squad for next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
The 28-year-old got himself back into the first-team reckoning at the end of last season, after nearly two years battling against problems with his left knee, only to damage his right knee playing for the US against Panama in the Gold Cup final in July.
Even though he has done all of his rehab work in the States, Leather and his medical team have been keeping close tabs on his progress.
And the Wanderers medical chief believes that Holden’s hyper-positive attitude coupled with his knowledge of the rehab process could be key to gaining a full recovery.
“I spoke with Stuart the other night and he’s in a really good place,” he said. “He sends me little video clips of the work he has been doing and he’s looking to get outside now for some of his rehab, straight-line running etcetera.
“We’ll probably see him back here in November for three to four weeks and be able to closely monitor what he is doing ourselves.
“After that he’ll go back to the States and push on again with the latter stages of his rehab before coming back after Christmas. If he’s anything like Mark Davies, fingers crossed he will be, the progress is pretty much consistent after that. You take big steps in a very short period of time.
“If that is the case then by late January to early February he could be in a position to fully train. After that, the decision as to when he plays competitive games is entirely down to the manager.
“He’s clearly very motivated and single-minded. He’s been through these procedures before and sets himself very high standards and goals.
“Some may think they are unachievable but that seems to be what makes him tick. None of us will knock that because it’s his view – his single bloody mindedness that he is going to get back and be as good as he was before. That is exactly what we want.”