Howkins back with Stags next week

Kyle Howkins.
Kyle Howkins.

Giant loanee centre half Kyle Howkins should be back in contention for the Stags after this weekend after recovering from a hamstring injury at parent club West Brom.

And Baggies boss Tony Pulis has already told Mansfield manager Steve Evans how highly he rates the 20-year-old.

“Kyle is not back yet,” said Evans.

“They are playing him in a behind-closed-doors game at the end of this week which is the normal when you go back to your parent club as, subject to coming through that, he’s back with us.

“He won’t be available for selection for us at Exeter but I certainly looking forward to seeing him in training next week and he will certainly be in contention for when Morecambe come here on Boxing Day.”

Evans continued: “He is an incredibly fit boy and I don’t know which is tallest – him or my garage door. He is a nice young man as well, and that is important.

“I am very good friends with Tony Pulis and Tony has lots of good things to say about the kid.

“I’ve not seen much of him but, believe me, if Tony Pulis talks good things about a centre back, he is famous for signing some of the best.

Although Howkins’ return is imminent, fellow centre halves George Taft and Corbin Shires are both recovering from operations and face a long haul back.

“They are going to be long term. I know they exist and I have had a good chat with both,” said Evans.

“Again, they are great lads, but they are such a long time away from playing, two and a half and three months respectively, sometimes as a manager you don’t get two and a half weeks.

“We will pick those lads up and when the medical team say they are two or three weeks away we’ll really start to focus on them.

“They have a fantastic approach and fantastic professionalism and are doing everything they can.

“But sadly for them and for us it’s about time.”