New Bristol City signing Brian Howard delighted to be back in the Championship
New Bristol City signing Brian Howard is delighted to be back in the Championship after six months spent battling relegation with League One Portsmouth.
Released by the stricken south coast club in January, the 30-year-old midfielder signed a short-term contract at Ashton Gate until the end of the season.
And the former Barnsley, Sheffield United and Reading star he did not have to wait long to make his debut, coming off the bench 10 minutes from time in Saturday's 2-1 Severnside derby defeat at Cardiff City.
Now fully recovered from the hernia operation that disrupted his season before Christmas, Howard admitted: "It's great to be back in the Championship.
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"It is always good to get your first appearance at a new club and get back playing again, especially on a day like this.
"It was a local derby and a great atmosphere and it was good be involved in an occasion like that.
"Of course, it is still disappointing when you lose, but I'm just happy to be back in this league.
"It made a change to have the ball passed to your feet rather than trying to win second balls up around my neck.
"The players can all pass the ball better in this division and it is great to be back."
Howard made an immediate impact, mustering a shot on target and providing a couple of telling through balls and crosses in a promising cameo display.
Ben Nugent's late own goal threw the visitors a lifeline after Fraizer Campbell had given Cardiff a 2-0 lead and the home side endured a nervous final few minutes.
Howard commented: "I thought the lads did alright. They kept battling and we got back in the game at the end. Had we got the goal five or 10 minutes earlier, then we might have had a chance.
"But Cardiff are top of the league for a reason and we cannot beat ourselves up too much.
"I thought we put in a half decent performance and we have to take that into Tuesday night at Crystal Palace.
"We knew what it was going to be like and that is why we set-up the way we did. Tom Heaton had to make some good saves and there was some great last-ditch defending.
"To concede the first goal when we did, knocked the stuffing out of us a little bit. Had we gone in 0-0 we would have been patting ourselves on the back."
He added: "I thought we did well in the last 10 minutes. We actually got on the ball more, passed it well, had a couple of good crosses and through balls and gave ourselves a chance.
"If we can do that against the other teams in this league, then I think we have a really good chance of staying up with the players we have here."