Howells more nervous at Exeter than on his Luton debut

Jake Howells on his return to the side at Exeter
Jake Howells on his return to the side at Exeter

Hatters midfielder Jake Howells admitted he was more nervous when making his return to the first team against Exeter City on Saturday, than during his Luton debut back in 2008.

Then, as 17-year-old, Howells came on for the final 15 minutes of a League One clash against Huddersfield, which Town were to lose 1-0.

However, after being welcomed back into the squad for the first time this season at St James Park, as a much publicised move away from Luton never materialised, Howells said: “Mentally it was tough, coming in was tough and to be honest I was more nervous I think today playing then I was on my actual debut when I was younger, because you’ve got to earn that respect again in a way.

“Not that I feel I’ve done anything wrong, but it was my decision, I’ll stick by what happened. It was just probably the wrong thing at the time, but I look at it now as it’s gone, this is where I am now and I’ve got to prove a point again.”

Hatters let yet another 2-0 lead slip at the weekend as they were pegged back late on, only to this time enjoy a last-minute winner themselves, courtesy of Paul Benson.

Howells wasn’t surprised how the game had developed, as he said: “I think it’s Luton Town in general, it’s always been a roller coaster ride since day one for me.

“It’s horrible when they get back in the game and people think ‘here we go again, it’s Luton, they’re going to lose,’ but nice for us to get three points and get home.

“Everyone can improve and we know we can play much better, but I think first you start with your work-rate and you can then work on that.

“We knew what was going to happen, we came here last year and it was a tough game, they came to us and they were very good again.

“We knew they could pass the ball very well and have got very attacking players, who are very good at doing it.

“But as a unit, as a whole team, we defended very well. It started from the front with Benno, (Danny) Green and Macca (Craig Mackail-Smith) as everyone did their job.

“Andy (Awford) came in on Thursday and everyone knew their jobs and everyone’s application and work-rate was good, so I think we deserved to get a winner.”

Howells himself was off the pitch by then, replaced just after the hour by Scott Griffiths, as he admitted, he couldn’t continue, adding: “I was cramping up, that’s all it was. I haven’t played a competitive game for a while now since Yeovil, and before that it was a couple of months.

“I did as much as I could and as I headed the ball away, I couldn’t really get up to be honest.

“I was struggling, but the staff knew that, and they knew the situation with me. The best thing is to be playing games and see how it goes.”