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Bolton boss delighted with return of USA international Holden

Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman has lauded Stuart Holden ahead of his possible first-team return from severe knee problems. The 27 year old suffered cruciate ligament damage and required 26 stitches in a gash from a tackle that saw Manchester United defender Jonny Evans sent off in March 2011.

The USA international came through a reserve outing unscathed against Oldham last week and has travelled with the Wanderers' squad for Tuesday night's FA Cup third-round replay at Sunderland.

"First of all I think we've got to look at Stuart because the guy's been out for such a long time," said Freedman. "It's credit to him and the mental strength he's shown.

"He's a fantastic man to have around the place, he's been fantastic in training and he's got one more hurdle to go - that's to get into the team and stay in the team.

"That's going to be very, very soon. He's getting his opportunity because he deserves it."

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Dave Williams

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