Wednesday 04 April 2012
Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden says he is delighted to be back at the Reebok Stadium as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury.
The United States international has endured a nightmare year since first injuring his knee against Manchester United in March 2011, which kept him out until September.
"It's nice to be back in all the banter and it has put a smile on my face"
- Stuart Holden
He returned for a Carling Cup match against Aston Villa, but then a follow-up operation on his knee revealed cartilage damage and he has been out of action ever since.
Holden, 26, has spent most of his time recuperating and working on building up his fitness in the US, but he is now back at Bolton to step up his rehabilitation.
"It's been great to be able to work hard and isolate myself but at the same time I have missed being around the guys," Holden told the club's official website.
"It's nice to be back in all the banter and it has put a smile on my face. I've been able to draw more enthusiasm to get through this last part of my rehab.
"Rehab work is a funny thing because it happens in fits and spurts. There are times when it might feel monotonous and boring and there have been times when I've been pulling my hair out because I've wanted to do more.
"But I'm trying to give myself the best chance to heal properly and get back to 100%."
Holden has been badly missed this season, with Bolton one point above the relegation zone in the Barclays Premier League in 16th, with only eight matches left in the campaign.
But he says he will not rush back into action, with the former Houston Dynamo star refusing to put a date on when he plans to make his first-team comeback.
"Coverage in the US has got a lot better and I didn't miss a single Bolton game"
- Stuart Holden
"My trainer in America, James Hashimoto, has been in constant contact with the medical team at Bolton and the great thing is that everyone has been working together and have kept each other in the loop," added Holden.
"They have been discussing every stage of my rehab and there has been a firm plan. I've been really happy with the way that it has all panned out. Now I'm really excited to get back here and push on with the next step of my work with the club's medical staff.
"A lot of people have asked when I'm going to be back playing and I don't have a definitive answer. I'm not really worried about that because my focus is all about making sure I'm fully fit once I do get back on the pitch."
Holden also says coverage of the Barclays Premier League in the US has improved so much he was able to follow the club's progress every week while he was away.
"The coverage in the States has got a lot better and I didn't miss a single Bolton game whilst I was over there, no matter what time the kick-off was," he said.
"There was a local soccer bar near to where I was working out. I got up extra early for the QPR game a few weeks ago and, along with some fans, we watched the match even though it was a 7.45am kick-off American time.
"[But] I'm looking forward to experiencing the Reebok again this weekend. I hope the fans get behind the lads against Fulham. You see the way everyone has rallied behind the team and we have won three in three."
Bolton face Fulham on Saturday 7th April, before a trip to Newcastle two days later.