Dougie Freedman has told injured Bolton Wanderers midfielder Stuart Holden his priority must be on getting back to full fitness, rather than worrying about his contract situation.

The luckless 28-year-old underwent surgery on Monday to deal with the latest problem in his knee and Wanderers admit the new setbacks means he may not play again in 2014.

After four major setbacks - which has restricted him to just five Bolton appearances in three years - there will be those who query whether Holden will ever play again after his latest comeback attempt earlier this month lasted just 23 minutes.

Yet the United States international retains a strong desire to try and play professional football again, a passion which Freedman admires.

So while Holden's contract at the Reebok Stadium may be up this summer, Freedman has assured the midfielder that if he can prove his fitness again, he will have a future at Bolton.

"Stuart, first and foremost, has his operation to deal with," said the Scot.

"Then when he deals with the operation we'll see where we go from that.

"It (his contract) is not something that's top of Stuart's list. He'll be back here for pre-season and hopefully we see him here running around and then we can make a decision.

"But if he wants to be, he's always welcome here. As long as I'm the manager he's always welcome here and he's always going to be here. With the injury, we just need to make sure he's right first."