Hatters boss Nathan Jones has confirmed that defender Jake Howell is set for a spell on the sidelines as requires surgery to cure a knee problem.
The 24-year-old had started all nine of Jones’ first matches in charge of the club, but missed Saturday’s 1-0 win at Leyton Orient with Dan Potts deputising.
“It’s a shame because he was in decent form and now that’s been curtailed, that’s the only thing we’re looking at at the minute.”Nathan Jones
Jones confirmed after the game it was down to an injury to his knee and speaking to the press this afternoon, he said: “Jake has got a little nick in his cartilage, so he’s going to require a small op which is a blow for us.
“Because he’s been doing well for us and has been a regular since I’ve come in and is one that’s fitted into the group, so it is a little bit disappointing.
“But Pottsy stepped in and was part of parcel of our fine clean sheet, so even though it’s disappointing for Jake, it gives someone else an opportunity.
“But we wish Jake well, we hope it’s a speedy one and he’ll be back with us.”
When asked whether the operation would bring a premature end to Howells’ season, Jones continued: “It’s a bit early to say how quickly he can get it done and how he reacts to it and so on.
“We have to do things safely. We’d like to have Jake back as soon as we can, because he’s been part of our group every day and I think if I’m not mistaken, he’s started every game since I’ve been here, so he’s been a good servant for me.
“It’s disappointing for the lad primarily, but secondly for the team and then obviously for me.
Howells, who has racked up 330 appearances for Town since coming through the ranks, now also faces a nervous wait to see if his stint Kenilworth Road will be extended as he is one of many who are out of contract in the summer.
Jones wasn’t drawn on his future though, saying: “It’s a shame because he was in decent form and now that’s been curtailed, that’s the only thing we’re looking at at the minute.
“We’re not really looking towards the summer and who we renew and so on because it’s still early days in my tenure and what they’re trying to do, so we’re still looking.
“It’s just disappointing for the lad as he was doing very well, he was fitting into stuff and he was growing. He was showing signs of really taking on board of taking on things we were trying to do.”
Replacement Potts, who earned his first start since October at the weekend, had to go off in the final stages at the Matchroom Stadium, but Jones expects him to be fine for Saturday’s home clash with Crawley Town.
He added: “I think some of his hair gel leaked on to his leg. He went down with a bit of cramp, as it was a demanding shift he had to put in on the weekend.
“He hasn’t played that many games lately, luckily enough we got a reserve game into him, but he trains well, so he’s recovered from that and hopefully he’s ready for a shift on the weekend.”