West Bromwich Albion under 23s defender Kyle Howkins says he is determined to help Port Vale pull away from their relegation nightmare.
Howkins joined Vale on January transfer deadline day, signing on loan until the end of the current season. Speaking to local media Howkins has declared himself ‘fit and ready to go’ as Vale prepare for the business end of the season.
Howkins has previously spent time on loan at Mansfield Town, Kidderminster Harriers and Cambridge United, but his progress has been stalled by injury.
“I’ve done both my knees and tore a ligament in my ankle, all when I’ve been out on loan so it could be my body is getting used to the physicality [of men’s football],” the new Vale man said.
“I’m ready, I’ve just come back from a knee injury, but no I’m fit and ready to go. Game time is important, that’s how you’re going to improve as a player, especially myself. I need to play games. I’m desperate for them because I’ve played a few games and got injured again, so I just need to get some consistency.”
There are huge differences between under 23s football and senior football, mainly the physicality and time on the ball. The new Valiant stopper has showed relief to have the opportunity to play in the senior game.
“I want to play against men. The football is so different in [under]23s. It’s pass, pass, pass with probably only three to five headers a game.
“In League Two, in men’s football, you’re heading 20 balls a game, going in for big challenges. People’s jobs are on the line, you can’t slip up otherwise you’ll get it in the neck. In the 23s there’s not so much pressure but when you come to men’s football you’ve got the fans, you’ve got the atmosphere. But that’s what players thrive for. That’s what’s going to improve me as a player.”
Howkins could feature for the Valiants when they host fellow League Two strugglers Morecambe at Vale Park on Saturday, looking to secure their first win of the new year. Manager Neil Aspin has outlined the points target for the club to his players, if they are to avoid relegation into the National League.
“The gaffer’s made clear we need 16 points to be safe. I know that, the rest of the team know that so it’s just about getting the points down and getting some wins.”