WANDERERS are poised to receive a late Christmas present with the return of midfield talisman Stuart Holden.

Fans-favourite Holden is roughly a fortnight away from a comeback on the training field, albeit to light duties, and though Dougie Freedman is still reluctant to put a definitive time frame on when he will be able to call upon the US international’s services, medical staff at the club claim he could be playing again by the end of next month.

That he is simply back in the fold after several months doing rehab in the States is clearly a big boost for the new Whites boss, who has already seen the effect he has had around the camp at Euxton.

“I’m still trying to convince Stuart that he’s a Scotsman,” he said of the Aberdeen-born ball-winner.

“He’s a fantastic lad to have about the place. For someone who has been out for a long time he’s so positive – he doesn’t come with a negative attitude at all.

“So just for that reason it’s good to see him around the training ground.

“Now what he’ll bring to the pitch, we all know his quality, and I’m sure we’ll embrace that.

“I’m not really into the medical side of it, but they do tell me that it could be the end of December.

“But there’s no rush. He’s been out for such a long time, I’m not going to put a guy’s career in jeopardy just because we need a result.

“It’s only fair that if he trains with us for a period of time after he comes back, that positivity rubs off on people, and then it’s time to pick him.”

Freedman is mentally factoring in Holden’s return in the new year, when he expects his team to still be in touch with the top six.

And the Scot has warned fans that only after doing business in the January transfer window will he expect the Whites’ promotion tilt to hit top gear.

“I know this division very well and if you win three games in a row, it can jump you six or seven places,” he said.

“When I say I want to stay in contention by Christmas, I’m not going to put that to a league position, more of the number of points. And I just feel that if we can stay as close as we can to that sixth position points-wise, come January, then is the time we can sit down and discuss what we need to shape it up.

“I’ll know more about my players, more about what it will take to get up there, and I have left a team up at the top so I understand it isn’t just about one or two individuals, it’s a squad.

“If we can chop and change things – a few in, a few out in January – and especially if we can call on Stuart Holden, it will give us an opportunity to have a late charge at it.”