Manager Owen Coyle has offered an update on Stuart Holden’s recovery from a knee injury.
The American international was initially injured back in March 2011 against Manchester United, though he did feature in a solitary game last season – a 2-0 Carling Cup win at Aston Villa.
And over the summer months the 27-year-old has returned to his homeland to continue his rehabilitation, with the manager revealing he has maintained a constant dialog with the club’s 2010/11 Player of the Year.
Coyle said: “I spoke to him the other night after the game and he sounded in a good place in terms of the type of character he is. His first concern, because of the type of lad he is, is to ask about everybody else.
“He’s doing well at this moment in time. He had a cleanout operation three weeks ago and is feeling a lot better from that.
“It’s one of those ones that we have to do in Stuart’s own time. We have to give him as much time as we can until he feels that both physically and mentally it’s time for him to step things up.
“What he’s had to do recently has been minimal if truth be told, but he has been doing well.
“I sent him over his home and away match jerseys last week, as well as his training tops to provide him with a little bit of a boost and equally knowing that sooner rather than later that he would be using those.
“He returns to see the specialist in the next few weeks who will have a look and see how things are going. Then, if that has been a good chat, as opposed to the minimal training he’ll then start to step things up.
“We saw last year when he came back and played the game at Aston Villa what a top player he is – he was the best player on the park that day.
“We know the quality that he has and how much we’ve missed him. It’ll all take time, but it’s nice to know that he’s in a good place.”