Two goals down at the break, the American – whose flights had been delayed at Philadelphia and on the runway at Manchester – dropped in for a few seconds at the interval at the DW Stadium and watched the second half from the stands.
And though the afternoon would end in desperate disappointment for Dougie Freedman and his side – the return of Holden to the camp, and Mark Davies to the field of play for the first time since February were precious positives.
“It’s great to have Stu back around the place,” said the Wanderers boss. “I know he’s still a long, long way away but to have him back adds to the spirit.
“Mark Davies being back and playing is such a plus for us, it really is.
“Spirit isn’t lacking here – nor is fitness or organisation. We just need to be more ruthless, particularly in derby games.”
Freedman is confident that defeat at Wigan will not cause irreparable damage, and that his players will bounce back against Charlton at the Reebok next weekend.
“When I came through the doors I felt there was a disjoined dressing room, with different egos and people who wanted to achieve different things in life,” he said.
“But I have got a group of younger players now who want to work towards the one goal, and that’s getting into the play-offs.
“They can take knocks and bumps, and this is one.”