Dougie Freedman insists Stuart Holden’s fitness is the midfielder’s more pressing worry, despite concerns over his Bolton Wanderers future.
USA international Holden, 27, is fit again following a 22-month absence with a knee injury and has made two substitute appearances so far this season.
With Holden’s contract set to expire this summer, Bolton boss Freedman believes the Aberdeen-born star must focus on reclaiming a first-team berth rather than a new deal.
“He is out of contract in the summer but that’s the least of his concerns,” Freedman told ESPN Soccernet.
“I don’t think he needs that sort of pressure from me to sign, or not to sign, a contract.
“He has gone through a career-threatening major knee operation so that’s far from his thinking. Just getting back playing football is a delight for him.
“I think he needs all the support he can get to play football. Let’s strip it all down and remember the days when he used to play in the streets.”
Holden has suffered recurring injury problems since being caught by a rash challenge from Manchester United defender Jonny Evans at Old Trafford in 2011.
His two appearances this season have been from the substitutes’ bench in the FA Cup, most recently in the 2-1 defeat to Everton last weekend.
Though wary of his uncertain future, Holden concurs with his boss and does not want any off-field distractions to hinder his comeback.
“With this injury I just want to get back playing every week and I’ve got a job on my hands to get back into the team,” he said.
“My first and foremost thought is just to be back playing week in, week out for Bolton.
“I’m so close to that now that I don’t want to let anything distract me.”
Meanwhile, despite adding Craig Dawson, Craig Davies and Jan Gregus to his ranks this month, Freedman admits some squad members will leave the club in the summer.
“I think we need to change one or two that have probably been here and done it and move on from there,” said Freedman.
“I do need to get a different mentality in the group, some different dynamics in the group and change the culture a little bit.”
Image courtesy of Bolton Wanderers, via YouTube, with thanks.