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.
‘Stuart played 90 minutes the other night and did very well,’ said Bolton head coach Owen Coyle.
‘There is no doubt day by day he is still improving but what we have to make sure is when we bring him back in it is not detrimental to the hard work he has done.
‘Is Saturday too soon for him to start? Probably so. But having said that if he continues the way he has done I would certainly be hopeful of starting him on Tuesday against Villa in the Carling Cup.
‘He is progressing in the right manner, which is a tremendous boost for Stuart with what he has been through.
‘He got a fractured leg in an international game against Holland in his first season and then he played at such a high standard last season – he was our most consistent and best player until he picked up the injury.
‘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.’