Fit-again Bolton Wanderers duo Mark Davies and Josh Vela to face Premier League opposition
MARK Davies and Josh Vela are on course for a late-December return with Dougie Freedman making plans to ease them into action over the next fortnight.
After the midfield pair played 65 minutes in a behind-closed-doors game against Rochdale in midweek, they are now being teed-up for more action at Leyland before being brought back into the first team frame.
“I think for their own confidence the two of them would benefit from playing a couple of reserve games,” Freedman said.
“We’ve got Liverpool and Chelsea coming up in the Under-21s so the standard of opposition isn’t bad at all. “For their own mindset it would be nice to get them both playing, running around, a goal here or there or a couple of heavy challenges.
“Fitness-wise I think they are both fine but for confidence I think it’s important that they get a chance to get back out there.”
Davies has not played since February when he limped out of a 1-0 win over Peterborough United with a knee injury that eventually required surgery.
Academy graduate Vela has featured just once this season, against Tranmere in the Capital One Cup, and has struggled to reach full fitness since injuring his knee last year.
Freedman admits he has had to resist the urge to bring both players back earlier after seeing problems develop with Chung-Yong Lee and David Wheater in the last 12 months.
“We’ve had a small problem with players breaking down at the club – Chungy last year was never really completely fit and David Wheater has never got to where he should have been,” he said.
“We’ve kept Mark Davies back for a month so physically he’s in great shape.
“Josh was a bit different. We pulled him out of the reserve games so that we could get him back into top shape.”
Goalkeeper Adam Bogdan has also stepped up his return from knee ligament damage and has now returned to light training duties.
“Adam had that little setback in his training but he’s actually been out there this afternoon,” Freedman confirmed on Thursday.
“He isn’t yet back with the first team but he’s back with the goalkeeping coach and making sure he’s diving around. But I think we’re a couple of weeks before we see him back.”