American Exports: Stuart Holden to rejoin Bolton training, may play in reserve games next month

Stuart Holden in his Bolton return

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AMSTERDAM – Bolton have set a general timetable for Stuart Holden's return, with the recovering midfield ace slated to get back in the game with the reserves during a window that stretches from late March to mid-April.

The 28-year-old has been sidelined since leaving last July's CONCACAF Gold Cup final with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Though Holden spent time working out with the US national team last month, he is not set to break back into full training under Bolton boss Dougie Freedman for at least another week.

"The manager said Stuart was about six to eight weeks away from being ready to feature for the Under-21 [reserve] side," a Bolton spokesman told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday.

The timetable given would allow Holden three chances to suit up for the second team, starting with a March 31 trip to tackle the Norwich City reserves. The junior Wanderers will then host their Arsenal counterparts on April 2 and Sebastian Lletget's West Ham United five days later.

The former Houston Dynamo star, whose current contract expires this summer, is also in line for a contract extension regardless of whether he makes it back into the first team before their season ends with a May 3 visit from Birmingham City. The new deal is still in the works, according to the club.

"I won't make a judgment on Stuart's playing to give him a new contract," Freedman told The Bolton News last week. "However, I have spoken to him. I will keep that conversation private on what I have said about next year, but what I said did ease him a little bit."

Currently winless in seven games across all competitions, Tim Ream and Bolton stand five points clear of the bottom three in 19th place through 30 of 46 Championship rounds. They get back to the league grind at Millwall on Saturday.