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Stu Holden starts in reserve match for Bolton Wanderers

Oldham Athletic warm up prior to facing Bolton Wanderers, with Stu Holden and Josh Vela in tow.
Oldham Athletic warm up prior to facing Bolton Wanderers, with Stu Holden and Josh Vela in tow.
Chris Manning

It's been a long, long, long 21 months since Stuart Holden was stretchered off injured at Old Trafford following a painful 50/50 challenge that saw Jonny Evans' studs damage his knee. In that time, Holden has managed just one competitive appearance for Bolton Wanderers, a Carling Cup match against Aston VIlla in September, 2011.

He is making what may be the largest step in his recovery bid tonight as he steps on the field against Oldham Athletic in the Manchester Senior Cup. Stu Holden has been given the start alongside fellow-knee-injury-carrying Bolton Wanderer Josh Vela.

Holden had previously completed over an hour of play in a closed-door match against Wigan Athletic and is just a few weeks away from a full first team return.

Josh Vela has been out injured since August when he was hurt in a Capital One Cup match against Crawley Town following a rash tackle.

The sight of them on the field is just brilliant.