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Hints point to Stu debut

Michael Steele

The games are coming thick and fast for Bolton Wanderers at this stage of the Championship season. Having just held on for a tough point at Nottingham Forest, the Trotters are looking ahead to the six games they have to play in the next 18 days. That tough, congested stretch continues tonight as Wanderers travel to Pride Park to take on Derby County.

Bolton have a newfound wealth of fit midfield players and Dougie Freedman can choose from Jay Spearing, Mark Davies, Medo Kamara, Josh Vela, Chris Eagles, Darren Pratley, and, apparently, Stuart Holden for the roles in the center. After a long 23 months away from league action, it's looking more and more likely that Stu will make Bolton's squad for this evening's Derby County clash.

The last match that Stu Holden played in was last Monday's Manchester Senior Cup match against Bury FC and his little brother, Euan. In that match, Holden went the full 90 minutes (alongside David Wheater and Medo) and was a successful continuation of the work that he had been doing to make it onto the pitch. Just the week before that, the American midfielder went a full 90 minutes in a closed door friendly. Yesterday, as Bolton took on Norwich City in U21 Premier League action, Holden was left out the squad.

Dougie Freedman had confirmed (via the Bolton News) that Stu would see action soon, something that's been a long time in the making for both him and Bolton Wanderers. Expectations were high for Holden to make the 18-man squad against Nottingham Forest but despite indications that Stu traveled with the team, he was not on the bench.

Mark Davies, another of Bolton's injury returnees, played the full 90 minutes against Nottingham Forest (and didn't look great doing it) at the weekend in what was his first league action since mid-December. The general consensus seems to be that he won't play twice in a row so quickly after returning from injury.

This morning, Holden tweeted out a photo of him and Chung-Yong Lee, being all happy and adorable:

Roughly translated, it says "meet the two Bolton aces, see you in the World Cup together."

Bear in mind that the photo doesn't have any context behind it and for all anyone knows, it could have been taken weeks ago. What it could also signify is that both Stu Holden and Chung-Yong Lee have travelled to Derby County, even though the latter is a regular in the starting XI. For what it's worth, both Medo Kamara and David Wheater were also held out of yesterday's reserve clash while Matt Mills featured.

Lineups drop five hours from the time of writing.