Kyle Howkins to miss Grimsby v Mansfield Town

Mansfield Town's injured Kyle Howkins  - Pic Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's injured Kyle Howkins - Pic Chris Holloway

Giant loanee centre half Kyle Howkins is not ready for a return to the Mansfield Town squad at Grimsby Town tomorrow.

He will remain with parent club West Brom until next week but both her and fellow injured defender George Taft could be back in contention for the home game with Newport County the weekend after.

“We should have Kyle Howkins back next week and Taft is back in full training now,” said Evans.

“He’s been training for a week and obviously needs to train for another week before getting involved in maybe 45 minutes of next week’s reserve game, funnily enough away at Grimsby again.

“We will worry about that next week.”

Howkins is said to be desperately close to full fitness.

“Kyle is physically fit,” said Evans. “I think they have done some final testing at West Brom and he was 99.9.

“When you are with a Premier League club and you’ve got their facilities, they have the capability of testing to the final ‘nth’ degree. So they wanted to delay it a few days. I would rather have Kyle back when he is 100 per cent ready.

“I expect him back in the building by Tuesday of next week and certainly available and in the squad for the Saturday when we play Newport at home.

“If he is back, fit and ready, it’s wonderful competition for the two centre backs. And if we can get Tafty into a reserve game next week, suddenly we have wonderful competition and like two new signings.”

He added: “I would imagine Howkins would play for West Brom on Monday evening and Taft almost certainly involved at some stage, maybe for 45 minutes or 30 minimum, in the reserves at Grimsby.

“James is back in the building today though not quite right to train with the group, but he’ll train tomorrow.

“So it will be the same squad on duty at Grimsby that’s been on duty since 1st January. They have acquitted themselves brilliantly.

“We’ve got a fantastic dressing room. I’ve been down there this morning getting smiles back on people’s faces and getting them focused.”

Evans took off midfield play-maker Joel Byrom at half-time in Tuesday’s 4-4 draw with Accrington, but said it was to avoid him being red-carded by a referee that showed 10 cards on the night.

“Joel came off at half-time as he was on a yellow card.” he said.

“He hesitated on a challenge right in the centre circle and that’s not Joel Byrom.

“He was wary of a second yellow as you would be as a very experienced guy and a good professional. So it was an easy decision to take him off.”