The immediate aftermath of Stuart Holden's injury was, unsurprisingly, focused on him. When was he going to be back? How would this affect his contract? Why did he have such bad luck with injuries? But after that dust had settled, the question became: who is going to step up in the midfield? Holden was such an engine, he created most of the Bolton plays, and even scored a few goals himself. Whoever was going to step up had some big boots to fill. While the team never really discovered the perfect combination this season, Mark Davies certainly played a huge role in making up for Stu's absence.
Since joining Bolton from Wolverhampton in 2009, little Davies has made 85 appearances, nearly half of which have been this past season. His crisp passing proved to be the key to the 5 man midfield, when it was successful. Sparky has only scored a handful of goals this season, but those have been crucial. His opener against Liverpool at the Reebok in the 4th minute set the tone for the match, a match that went on to be an uplifting 3-1 win for the men in white.
Mark Davies' more important contributions however are more difficult to quantify than just goals though. In the league this season, he has completed an impressive 907 out of his attempted 1037 passes, roughly 87.5% of them. This provided solidity in midfield, and while he doesn't necessarily have the flair that a player like Martin Petrov, his work is vital for the team. He also was one of the few Bolton players unafraid to get back and help in defense, an area we all know Bolton Wanderers need help in.
Sparky will not be winning any style contests any time soon. His style of play will not be converting the masses to the Church of Bolton. But there is absolutely no denying that he has been a work horse this season, and he has gotten things done when they needed to be done. Mark Davies undoubtedly deserves a shout at player of the year.