Dougie Freedman says Stu Holden is "ready to start"

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

We already know that Stu Holden will be included in Bolton's squad alongside young Josh Vela for the FA Cup Third Round replay. What we don't know is if or how much time each of them will see. The club is being very careful to not rush either of them into action but that isn't stopping manager Dougie Freedman from playing up the pair's fitness levels.

The likely scenario for the pair will be to start the match on the bench and maybe come on late on against Sunderland. Dougie is seeing it a little differently though and isn't ruling out the possibility of at least one of the boys in the starting XI.

The manager was quoted in the Bolton News:

"Stuart Holden and Josh Vela are the two definites coming back and we have David Wheater and Mark Davies chomping at the bit but it is probably a little bit too soon for those two.

"But I can see both Stuart and Josh are ready to start.

"They have played three or four reserve or practice games and are fine fitness-wise.

"They are both available for selection tonight.

"Stuart has always been around for the past few months at the training ground.

"His influence has been good but now being back actually training it is like having a new signing.

"If you know him and what he represents in term of his life, you know he's a fantastic character.

"I have to give credit to the medical staff who have nursed him along at the right time and made sure he is psychologically ready to play.

"He has come through it and is a tough young guy who deserves everything he gets in life and I think he is ready."

The news is a major boost to Bolton fans and the team alike as it will almost certainly help alleviate a number of the issues that the team has been having in both defense and attack.

We'll have full coverage of the FA Cup clash (and Holden & Vela's progress) here later in the day. For now, here is our preview.

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