Central defender establishing himself in the starting line-up...
HAVING found himself waiting patiently in the wings for the majority of the season, Paul Downing has grabbed his latest starting opportunity with both hands.
The central defender, who arrived from West Bromwich Albion during the summer, has started the last five games and played his part in an upturn in fortunes that has seen us take ten points out of a possible 15.
“I feel that I have been pretty solid,” said the 21 year-old. “It’s been good to get a run of five games in a row, but the main thing is that we’ve got back into winning ways during that time and started to move back up the table.
“Having one game here and one game there was difficult in the early days of the season, but I’ve kept working hard in training so that I am ready to step in when required.
“I’ve been happy with my performances; the Gaffer gets us well-prepared and organised for games which, as a centre back, is a big help. Also, the fact that the Gaffer was a central defender during his playing days has been a massive help to me, as has having the likes of Andy Butler and Dean Holden around. They are both really good communicators who have helped me a great deal.
“It’s been good that we’ve picked up so many points in such a short space of time over the Christmas period. There are some winnable games coming up and hopefully we can keep the run going and continue to add to our tally.
“First of all our focus is on the challenge that Portsmouth will present to us. They have some players that we need to be wary of and coming off the back of a heavy defeat in their last game will mean that we have to watch out for a backlash.
“That said, it we keep doing the things we have done recently, we’ll be okay.
“The fact that the live television cameras are here adds to the occasion and gives the lads the chance to showcase what they can do. We played well the last time we were live on Sky at Shrewsbury but didn’t get the result to go with it, so hopefully we can combine the performance with three more points this evening.
“We go into the game in a positive frame of mind and determined to build on our recent form.”
So what are Downing’s aims for the second half of the campaign? “First and foremost I want to keep my place in the team,” he added without hesitation. “I want to maintain the standards that I have set myself and continue to learn whilst helping the team move up the League One table.
“There is plenty of belief and great spirit amongst the lads and I am really enjoying my football at the moment.”
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