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Coyle excited by Holden return

THE RETURN of midfielder Stuart Holden will be like signing a £10million player, according to Bolton manager Owen Coyle.

Wanderers' creative influence has been sorely missed since rupturing knee ligaments against Manchester United at Old Trafford in March. It has been a slow process of rehabilitation for the United States international but a first-team return is now within touching distance.

Coyle admits the home clash with Norwich may come too soon but he is almost certain to feature in Tuesday's Carling Cup trip to Aston Villa after appearing for the reserves in midweek. Coyle said: "It will be a tremendous boost when you have a player of that quality returning. It is probably like going into the transfer market and signing a £10million player."

He added: "He is an outstanding player and outstanding young man and it will be a real boost when he is back fit and at 100% and hopefully that is not too far away."

Coyle also saw his new signings impress in the reserves' 3-3 draw against Arsenal, with £4million former Liverpool striker David Ngog scoring twice. Tuncay Sanli, on loan from Wolfsburg, got the other and on-loan Chelsea forward Gael Kakuta also featured.

The Bolton boss believes his squad now possesses a strength in depth it has not before.

"The new signings did very well. Tuncay, Gael and David all came in without having had the match fitness at their previous clubs so we have to get them up to speed and the intensity we want them to play at," said Coyle.

"That is why the other night will have served as a real good exercise in terms of getting up their sharpness and awareness.

"They all did very well. Tunny scored, David got the other two and Gael did very well but Stuart also played and we had four or five first-team players playing because we wanted Stuart back in that environment and it was a valuable exercise.

"What we have now is real strength in depth in terms of the numbers and that is something we never had last season."