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Midfielder’s Daggers return ends in defeat

PUBLISHED: 10:15 15 March 2012

Luke Howell (right) celebrates a goal with Sam Williams against Torquay in August, but has barely played since. Picture: Dave Simpson/TGSPHOTO

Luke Howell (right) celebrates a goal with Sam Williams against Torquay in August, but has barely played since. Picture: Dave Simpson/TGSPHOTO

Dave Simpson/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football Leagu

Luke Howell played his first game since September on Tuesday night, but Northampton spoiled his comeback with a 1-0 win

Luke Howell admitted his first-team return after six months of injury hell was tinged with disappointment, as Daggers lost 1-0 to Northampton Town on Tuesday night.

The midfielder had been missing since September 3 with a knee injury, but was a shock inclusion from the start in John Still’s side on Tuesday night.

Howell acquitted himself well in midfield, coming through the 90 minutes pain free and was named as the sponsors’ man of the match.

But the 25-year-old admitted the bottle of champagne would be little consolation, after Toni Silva’s 62nd-minute winner left Daggers rock-bottom.

“No-one really likes to get man of the match when you lose a game,” he said.

“It was good on a personal level, but I was disappointed with the result because I thought we did well and we were unlucky.

“We had a few chances near the end. It was one of those games, a typical relegation battle, pretty even, quite scrappy, but at the moment it doesn’t seem like we’re getting that bit of luck.

“They get a nice rebound for their goal and we don’t quite get that, but if we carry on playing like that we’ll be alright.”

Howell was instrumental in Daggers good start to the season, as Still’s men won three of their first five games with the former MK Dons man in the heart of midfield.

But, following Howell’s injury in a 1-0 defeat to Hereford, Daggers began their decline and slipped down the table.

Howell admitted it has been difficult to watch the team struggle from the sidelines.

But having not been rushed back to action, he is confident of being available for the final 10 games of the season.

“I feel fine, I’ve had no problems all the way up to the Northampton game,” he said.

“That’s thanks to the staff, from the physio through to the masseuse and the fitness coach – they’ve all been brilliant with me over six months.

“They haven’t rushed me back, sometimes that happens in football, but they’ve been brilliant with me.

“I was in a knee brace for 12 weeks. When you’re out that long and not doing anything, not even getting up and about it’s difficult.

“The results in mid-season didn’t go too well, so it was frustrating sitting up in the stands. You want to get out there and help the lads, but there was a point where I thought I might not play again this season, so I’m glad I can help out for this last few.”

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