Brian Howard

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Brian Howard is an English midfielder who was born in Winchester on 23rd January 1984. Howard began his career with Southampton, but failed to break into the first team before his release in 2003. He trained with cash strapped Chelsea after his St Marys departure, and was set to sign a contract at Stamford Bridge until Roman Abramovich took over. Howard subsequently signed for Swindon, and made his professional debut for the Robins on 9th August 2003 in a 3-2 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. He scored 4 times during 2003/04, with his first coming in a 2-2 draw with Luton on 1st October. Howard continued to perform well at the County Ground during 2004/05, netting 6 goals.

In June 2005 Howard signed for Barnsley. The Southampton youth product enjoyed three very successful years in South Yorkshire. In 2005/06 he helped the Tykes win promotion to the Championship. Howard proved he could cut it in the second tier, enjoying a successful 2006/07 as Barnsley won their battle against the drop. He netted on the opening day against Cardiff, his first of 8 goals that campaign. In 2007/08 played a key role in helping Simon Davey's side reach the FA Cup semi-finals. He scored a last minute winner at Liverpool in the 5th round, and also starred in the quarter final triumph over Chelsea. Howard scored 14 goals in all competitions that season. He remained at Oakwell for the first couple of months of 2008/09, but was soon itching for a new challenge.

Howard signed for Sheffield United in October 2008 on an initial loan deal. Not long after scoring the winner at Nottingham Forest in December that year Howard signed a permanent deal with the Blades. He helped Sheffield United qualify for the play-offs that season. Howard scored in the play-off semi-final 1st leg draw with Preston, which helped the Bramall Lane outfit reach the final. Unfortunately for Howard, United lost the Wembley final to Burnley.

Howard started 2009/10 with Sheffield United, but moved to Reading just a few weeks into the season. He battled back from a broken jaw, and returned to form under new manager Brian McDermott. Howard was in the Reading side that beat Liverpool in the FA Cup, and also scored in a 3-2 win at West Brom in the same competition. Howard lost his starting place at the Madjeski in 2010/11, and was linked with a loan move back to first club Southampton. After making just two first team appearances at the start of 2011/12 Howard joined Millwall on loan for 3 months in September 2011. He returned to Reading in early 2012, but failed to force his way back into the first team.

Howard trained with Portsmouth prior to the 2012/13 season, but was initally unable to sign a deal due to the clubs precarious financial position. He did eventually sign a montly contract on 16th August 2012.