Dougie Freedman has refused to put a timescale on when the US international could pull on a Whites’ shirt again – although the indications are that he could be in contention for his club by the end of the season.
But after seeing the 28-year-old battle back from three consecutive serious injuries, the Wanderers boss is putting his trust in the sports science team he assembled over the summer.
“I don't think it is right for me to say what I should say because it might stick him back,” he said. “I don't want to put pressure on anyone so I will say to Stuart 'take as long as you possibly can.'
“And it is the same message to the medical staff - make sure he is one million per cent right.
“He is back in the building which is great news but before we get carried away, he is still a long way off. He did most of his rehab over there and we will leave it a little while before we decide the next step.
“Whether he does his CV (cardio-vascular) work over there or over here has got to be discussed. It's really down to Stuart what he wants.”
Holden is positive he can play again at the highest level and certainly has the backing of anyone associated with the football club in his efforts to play again.
Counting in his favour, notes Freedman, is not only the more straightforward nature of the knee injury he suffered playing for his country over the summer but also the medical expertise now on offer at the Reebok. “Stu’s injury is a more simple one to deal with but he also has that experience of dealing with what is necessary at certain stages,” he said.
“We have a new medical team here, they didn't know his previous so it is an open communication with Stuart 'do you feel you need to go back for six weeks and then come back here. Or do you feel you need to stay here?”