Once again there is mixed injury news for Bolton Wanderers as they head into Saturday’s Championship fixture against Leeds United at Elland Road.
The Trotters will be boosted by the return of top goalscorer and former Leeds man Jermaine Beckford but have suffered major injuries to midfielders Darren Pratley and Stuart Holden.
Manager Dougie Freedman is looking at the positives though as he was delighted Beckford was fit again after six weeks out but insists he won’t walk straight into the team.
“He is definitely back in contention and he’s trained very well this week so we are pleased to have him back,” Freedman told his weekly press conference.
“But he won’t walk straight into the team, it’s nothing personal but Lukas Jutkiewicz and Joe Mason have been in good form so it will be unfair for me to drop them, so Jermaine will have to wait his turn.”
The two on-loan strikers have been in top form since arriving at the club.
Mason has scored two in two matches while Jutkiewicz has scored three in his last five games.
However, Beckford has been the club’s top scorer so far with eight goals this season and the striker will be extra fired up as Bolton prepare to face his old club.
The striker started his career at Elland Road and during his five years at the club he scored 86 goals in 152 games.
This will give Freedman plenty of options in the striker department but he will not be so fortunate when it comes to the midfield.
The Scot confirmed that Darren Pratley will miss the remainder of the season after shoulder surgery but the more upsetting news for Freedman was that long-term absentee Stuart Holden suffered another injury setback during a reserve team game this week.
“It’s disappointing news for us all, we don’t know the exact results at the moment, but we feel that it’s the same knee injury and he’s going to fly back to America to see his specialist on Monday.
“I did go and meet Stuart the following night to have a long chat with him – he’s very positive and no matter what the outcome of this is, he will carry on and keep on going.
“I want to be very clear to everybody that Stuart Holden will be here in some capacity at this football club – he is such a fantastic lad and is a great ambassador for Bolton Wanderers.”
It’s another example of how the luck has been against Bolton this season that whenever they seem to get a player back to full fitness they lose two more to injury.
However, they will be determined to put this behind them as they attempt to extend their winning run to three games when they face Brian McDermott’s Leeds side and the Trotters will be encouraged by their recent record at Elland Road.
Bolton have only lost two of the last six games between the teams at Elland Road and will be looking to get revenge on the Whites after suffering a 1-0 defeat at the Reebok in September.
Image and video courtesy of Official BWFC via YouTube, with thanks.