Oxford United manager Michael Appleton has completed the signing of midfielder Brian Howard on a free transfer. The 31 year old had been without a club since leaving Birmingham City in the summer and had been training with the U’s for two weeks prior to putting pen to paper.
After beginning his career at Southampton, Howard was offered a contract at Chelsea following his release from the Saints but the arrival of Roman Abramovich and his never ending pot of gold meant that he never joined the Stamford Bridge club. Instead, he went on to sign for Swindon Town and made over 50 appearances between 2003 and 2005. After leaving the County Ground, he signed for Barnsley, making over 120 appearances in the league and scoring 27 goals before joining near neighbours Sheffield United in a loan deal that was made permanent. 30 impressive appearances for The Blades earned him a £500,000 move to Reading. Since leave Reading in 2012, Howard has had spells at Portsmouth, Bristol City, CSKA Sofia and ended last season at Birmingham City, making 5 appearances and scoring 1 goal.
Howard has signed a short term contract at the Kassam Stadium that will run until January but it has an option to be extended until the end of the season. Appleton told the official club website;
“Brian is a very experienced player and he has that bit of quality and know-how that you need. He has been training with us for a couple of weeks and has done well. He knows the lads now and will go straight into the squad for the two home games this week against Accrington and Stevenage.”
U’s fans will be hopeful that the midfielder can make an instant impact against Accrington as they look to earn their first win of the campaign following three straight draws including Saturday’s 1-1 away at Exeter City. Howard will join fellow new signing Tyrone Barnett, who made his debut at Exeter, in the squad.