Mansfield Town set for defensive boost

Mansfield Town's Kyle Howkins heads forward  - Pic Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Kyle Howkins heads forward - Pic Chris Holloway

Mansfield Town look set to get a massive boost this week with central defensive giants Kyle Howkins and George Taft likely to be fully fit to travel to Cheltenham Town on Saturday.

West Brom loanee Howkins could even figure in tonight’s game at Yeovil Town, though Taft will definitely be left behind to polish up his sharpness.

Howkins was due back from his knee injury last week but pulled out of a West Brom U23 fixture last Monday with a niggle by half-time.

However, Stags manager Steve Evans said: “Kyle came back in and trained with us on Friday and looked in fantastic shape. He is telling us he’s lost five kilos and he really looks awesome.

“His scan came through clear and so they put him straight back in to two or three days training at West Brom and said he is ready to go and play now.

“We watched him train Friday and just thought from where we are – is he really ready to go and play?

“We were going to bring him straight into the team but he just looked a little bit short in terms of his touch on the ball and timing of headers, so we will have another look and make a decision if he is in the squad at Yeovil.

No break, now Stags sweat on keeper’s knee scan

“If not we fully expect him to be in the squad for Saturday.

“He doesn’t look injured, it was just his timing and his movement as you’d expect from someone who hasn’t kicked a ball much in four or five weeks.”

On hamstring victim Taft, Evans added: “I think Tafty will be in contention for Cheltenham. We’ve had two practice matches now for George.

“In the first he was a bit how I’ve described Kyle. Then we had a bit of a session here on Friday between two teams and I don’t think the big fellow broke sweat.

“He really looked decent. People will see the conditioning that’s been done on him. He doesn’t look like Billy Bunter any more, he looks like George Taft! Lee Taylor deserves enormous credit.

“He will be given a full programme tomorrow and the staff will be back in on the Wednesday and the Thursday.

“It is just about minutes on the training pitch for him now and getting sharp. Touch wood, his injury is now completely healed.”

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