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Stuart Holden will not return this season

Aston Villa v Bolton Wanderers - Carling Cup Third Round

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Stuart Holden of Bolton Wanderers during the Carling Cup third round match between Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers at Villa Park on September 20, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

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We should have seen this coming, but in the recent talk about Stuart Holden’s improvement, discussing his return seemed inappropriate. So while Owen Coyle’s pronouncement that the Bolton midfielder won’t be fit to return this season surprises nobody, it probably disappoints everybody.

Holden returned to England and has resumed training with the team, but for his manager, it’s impossible to see the former Houston Dynamo star back with the Trotters this season.

“He won’t be fit for the season,” Coyle said today after offering how much Holden’s personality has been missed within the club.

Bolton’s in a relegation battle - enough reason not to throw Holden out there. He’s also recently got the team clicking. Got to let that group ride.

We just passed the one-year mark of Holden’s collision with Jonny Evans, the sliding challenge from the Manchester United defender sending the 26-year-old under the knife. Holden briefly returned this fall but had to undergo another surgery in September.

I haven’t seen Holden’s scans, but I can’t help but think this delay is probably a good thing. If there’s one player who could use a full preseason, it’s Holden. He needs the slow ramp up of those summer sessions and the practical conditioning that will strengthen his knee before he gets thrown to the wolves.

It would be nice if, after the month-and-a-half he’ll have with Bolton, he can come home, find a team to train with, and be back to full strength when Owen Coyle reassembles his squad mid-summer.

Even if today’s news isn’t great, it appears Holden’s on track.