Kidd: We're not in talks with Everton over Brian Howard

Assistant manager Ryan Kidd has refuted claims that Barnsley are in talks with Everton over star player Brian Howard.

Rumour is rife that Everton boss David Moyes is ready to swoop for the 25-year-old when the transfer window reopens in the summer.

Howard is the jewel in Simon Davey's crown having fired 11 goals from midfield this season.

The former Southampton trainee looks in prime position to retain his player of the year accolade which he received at the end of the 2006/07 campaign for helping keep the Tykes in the Championship.

The rumour mill has linked Howard with a switch to the Premier League for the past 12 months – his potential suitors are reported to include Middlesbrough and Aston Villa.

The Reds' chances of holding on to Howard for the foreseeable future diminished markedly when he hit the winner at Anfield two weeks ago, but the asking price supposedly hanging on his head has risen to 5m.

Despite what has been written in the national press, Kidd has dismissed speculation that the Tykes are set to lose their prised asset.

Kidd, who is good friends with Moyes from their time together at Preston, said: "I know David very well, and so does Simon, but there has been no contact over Brian whatsoever.

"Brian's been great for us this season. He's got a good agent who's doing what he's paid to do but we've had no contact with Everton at all."

Davey's preparations for the cup-game with Chelsea suffered a setback this week, as Brazilian play-maker Anderson de Silva was ruled out of the glamour tie.

De Silva, who hails from Sao Paolo, could be out of action until mid-April after being stretchered off with a knee injury at Norwich last weekend.

The 25-year-old, who joined Barnsley on a permanent basis from Everton last month, may need a minor operation to cure the problem.

"He's going to have a scan in the next couple of days, but we don't know whether he will be out for a week or six weeks," Kidd commented.

"It's a blow, but we have players who can deputise. We just have to get on with it."

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Tony Warner has returned to Fulham after his one-month loan deal expired on Tuesday.

The veteran Liverpudlian played three times for the club and Kidd admits negotiations are taking place to bring him back to Oakwell.

Kidd added: "We are still speaking with Fulham at the moment.

"It's a big commitment for Tony because we would want him until the end of the season. We are still in contact."