STUART Holden’s plan to return for Wanderers’ last two games of the season have left Owen Coyle in a bind.
The US international, who broke his leg playing for his country against the Netherlands in early March, made a return to training with the first team this week.
But his manager – realising the 24-year-old could need games under his belt if he is to figure in this summer’s World Cup – has concerns that throwing him back into the mix too early could see him pick up another injury and sabotage his chances.
“If he is ready, I will play him,” said the Whites boss. “But if he is not, it would be wrong for me to throw him in there and do something detrimental. He’s a great kid and he’s got a big role to play for Bolton Wanderers in the future.
“I certainly wouldn’t rule him out playing again this season, he has got a heart the size of a lion. But I can’t and I won’t jeopardise his opportunity, if it comes about, for the World Cup finals.”
Holden impressed in his first two appearances for Wanderers before fracturing his tibia in a challenge with Manchester City’s Nigel De Jong in a midweek friendly in Amsterdam.
He underwent surgery a week later, but has long-since earmarked forthcoming games against Tottenham and Birmingham as the right time to make his return.
“If I can get a couple of games in to show that I’m available for selection, then that’s all I can do,” said the former Houston Dynamo midfielder.
“I felt a little sorry for myself at first but knowing I had that to aim at gave me hope. It gives me a chance to be considered for the 30-man roster.”