STUART Holden is desperate to show Wanderers fans that he can be a force in the final play-off push.

After returning from a month-long loan at Sheffield Wednesday at the start of the week, the US midfielder is now gunning for a first-team spot at Cardiff City this weekend.

Jay Spearing’s broken toe has offered Holden a big chance to get involved. And with a new contract now a formality, the popular playmaker is ready to show fans his long injury lay-off has now been consigned to the past.

“I’m really excited to show people that what I was capable of before, I can be capable of again,” he said. “The contract is at the final stages. I’ve had a good conversation with the gaffer and with the chairman that essentially agreed on everything. I just need to put pen to paper now.

“The loan got in the way of things a bit with all the commuting, the training and the games, so at this point it’s just a point of finalising details.

“But whereas the gaffer maybe didn’t think I was there fitness-wise when I left, after a month of games, I’m now in a much better position to be knocking on his door.”

Holden played four games for the Owls in what he described as the “perfect loan” but while Dave Jones wanted to extend the deal, Dougie Freedman had to bring him quickly back into the fold.

Darren Pratley and Medo Kamara have started the last two games against Leicester and Middlesbrough, leaving youngster Josh Vela as the only other recognised fit middle man.

The timing of a fitter Holden, it would seem, could have come at a crucial time with just two games of the regular season remaining.

“The loan spell ticked all the boxes for me,” Holden said. “They did well, got some good results, and I got sharper and better with each game.

“That was the main reason why I went there. Bolton paid for my entire loan, picking up my salary, but Wednesday were very accommodating, making it known they wanted me to get those games. I’m really thankful for that.”

Another positive outcome for Holden could be a return to the US international team. Jurgen Klinsmann has kept a keen eye on the 27-year-old’s return to prominence with a view to him adding to his 17 caps over a busy summer of games in the World Cup qualifiers and Gold Cup.

Bad luck with injury has meant Holden has never been able to nail down his place in the US team but after two years in the wilderness, the last thing the Wanderers star wants is a summer waiting for pre-season to start.

“Klinsmann called me before the Leeds game (at Sheffield Wednesday) and said he’d been watching me. He was impressed with my attitude getting back out there,” he said.

“He mentioned to me the word ‘rhythm’ and getting those repetitions. The assistant manager was at the Leeds game and he wrote me a nice email after the game to say ‘run with it’ and see how far I can push on now.

“I think Klinsmann has spoken to Dave Jones and Dougie Freedman about the best way to keep me going over the summer. There are a lot of games and I want to be involved. The last thing I need is a summer vacation and to be sitting around.

“It hasn’t been two years off in terms of a holiday but it has been a lot of time away from football and I want to play as much as I can. I think Klinsmann’s style of play really will suit me. I think my best position is through the middle but for Sheffield Wednesday and for the national team the role has been out wide, so it’s good to have that versatility.

“My big aim is to help the US qualify for the World Cup. Rio is really a firm fixture for me.”