Bolton to stick by Stu as MLS offers Holden hope

Michael Steele

Much to the dismay of many Bolton fans, Wanderers will not be cutting Stu Holden loose following the torn anterior cruciate ligament injury that the midfielder suffered in the Gold Cup. Droves of fans took to Twitter immediately after Bolton Wanderers and US Soccer made the results of Stu's knee scan public, calling for the club to release the American, citing his wages as a primary concern.

There is some confusion in the midfielder's current contract situation (on which we're waiting for clarification from the club). According to a report in the Bolton News, Holden has not yet signed a new one year contract with the club with that signature expected on his return to England. Prior to leaving for international duty after last season, Holden and his representatives sent off all of the necessary paperwork for the new deal and it looked as everything was done. Stu's girlfriend seemed to confirm it on Twitter immediately after, saying "A big congrats to my @stuholden for signing another contract with Bolton!"

Whether the deal is already in play or not (again, waiting on confirmation and clarification), Bolton Wanderers have decided, per the same report in the Bolton News, that they will not be letting Stu go just yet. The report stated that shortly after news of Holden's injury became official, Chairman Phil Gartside was on the phone with Stu letting him know that his immediate future at Bolton Wanderers was safe. This gives Holden another chance to fight back from the injury issues that have plagued what is still a promising career and ultimately the chance to fight for another contract.

Owen Coyle, who first took Holden on trial at Burnley before moving him to Bolton immediately after he was hired as manager, has backed a comeback from Stu. Speaking to the Bolton News, Coyle said:

"I have no doubts whatsoever he will be back.

"He's already been robbed of two years of what would have been his peak.

"The season before he got injured, I believe he was one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.

"And I'm including all the lads at the elite clubs - Stuart Holden went toe to toe with all of them and more than held his own.

"He's a real team player, and that's why he's held in such high esteem by all of his colleagues, and we're all with him as he begins his next recovery.

"I watched him in the Gold Cup, and he looked as though he was back to his best.

"He's shown he can come back once, and I know he can come back again."

The ever-positive Holden should also be able to get a bit of reinforcement in his comeback bid from Major League Soccer. Stu, whose rights are still held by Houston Dynamo should he want to return to the States, still keeps an eye on the league that gave him his start. It is in MLS that another injury can give Holden a bit of hope.

Peter Luccin, a 34-year-old French player who signed with FC Dallas ahead of the current season, damaged ligaments in his left knee prior to the start of the MLS campaign. Luccin had surgery to repair the damage and was set to be out of action for 6-8 months. News out of Dallas training yesterday though was that just five months after injuring his knee, the 34-year-old was looking good in drills while participating in full training.

It also wasn't the first time that Luccin damaged knee ligaments. The Frenchman tore his ACL in the 2008/09 season, missing much of that season.

Obviously Holden's recovery time depends on the severity of his torn ACL and the treatment plan that Bolton Wanderers and US Soccer decide to go with. With his immediate future now secured and plenty of positive examples to look at, Holden can begin to make another attempt at full recovery and, hopefully, play a part in Bolton's upcoming season.

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