The last time the Toffees went to Blackburn, back in September, they were knocked out of the Carling Cup by a weakened line-up fielded by then-manager Paul Ince. What made the occasion worse for Howard and his team-mates was the fact that, out of a crowd of 14,366, almost half the spectators in the ground were travelling Everton fans, who did not take at all kindly to what they felt was a cowardly and abject display by their heroes in losing 1-0 to Rovers.
"That performance was really sub-par and the fans had every right to feel upset with us," Howard explained in today's Liverpool Echo.
"There was no cohesion to our play and it was a difficult night for everyone. Hopefully we can get things right this time and play the kind of football we want to play and dictate how the game goes.
"Our travelling support is one of the best in the league and it’s great at Ewood Park because we get the whole stand which will be filled to the rafters. We owe it to those fans who are so passionate to ensure this time they have a more enjoyable trip home."
Howard has only conceded three goals in the Toffees' last eleven league outings, and has kept ten clean sheets in his last 15 games. Modestly, he points to the performances of his defenders as being the key factor underpinning that impressive record.
"We didn’t play that well at Newcastle or at home to West Brom but we didn’t concede in either game and that’s important," he added.
"I am very proud of the way the defenders are playing in front of me. As I’ve said all along a goalkeeper is only as good as his defenders are. The lads have got their bodies in the way and have limited the number of chances our opponents are getting.
"The best thing for me is our cohesion. The communication has really been good – the understanding of each other and the body language.I know what Joleon, Jags, Bainesy or Hibbo are going to do and they know what I’m going to do – that’s crucial."
As for the Toffees claiming some tangible reward for a hard-working season, in the form of winning the FA Cup, Howard admits he has dreams.
"I played at Wembley for the USA against England last summer and it’s a fantastic venue. To go back there with Everton would be amazing because the FA Cup is special for this club," he concluded.
Zack Wilson, Goal.com