Stuart Holden is beginning to make great strides as he strives to return from a horror injury which left him sidelined for five months.

The Bolton midfielder sustained a gash on his leg which required 26 stitches after a challenge with Manchester United's Johnny Evans, while the American also damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in the same incident.

But, after a long recovery process, Holden is finally back in action - having completed 78 minutes for Bolton's reserves against Fulham earlier this week.

"I've set goals and I've achieved them along the way," said Holden.

"This was another one of those goals, playing in a reserve game and I can't tell you how good it felt to be out there kicking a football, running around and tackling other players.


 

"On a personal note it was amazing for me to get out there and get back into the swing of things. To come through 78 minutes of action unscathed with my knee feeling good is a real step forward."

Prior to his injury in March, Holden was enjoying his breakthrough season in English football - form the 26-year-old hopes to recapture as soon as possible.

"I obviously wasn't going to be as sharp as I was five months ago." he added.

"I felt prior to my injury at Old Trafford I had been playing the best football of my career. It's going to take a little bit of time fitness-wise, but I'm not too far off."

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Stuart Holden