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DOWNING DETERMINED

21 February 2014

Defensive mainstay up for the challenge...

AS ONE of the mainstays of the spine of the team, Paul Downing, is looking forward to being involved in the run-in to the end of the season.

The month of March contains no fewer than eight fixtures, but before that we face the challenge of Crawley Town on Saturday.

"Both teams will be looking forward to it, so it should be a good game," said Downing who joined the club in the summer of 2012 from West Bromwich Albion. "We've been lucky at home in that our pitch has been in good condition, so we've been able to play our passing game and only lost the away game against Coventry to the weather.

"There are a lot of games coming up, but we can't look too far ahead, first and foremost our focus is on Saturday's game.

"It's nice to be up there challenging at the right end of the table and have an end goal. We've put ourselves into a good position and it's going to be an exciting finish.

"Hopefully we will be able to keep adding to our points tally and be where we want to be."

Downing has established a regular place in the heart of the back-line and has formed a solid partnership with skipper, Andy Butler.

"I feel that I have come a long way over the past couple of years," he added. "I've been pleased with my progress and if it could include promotion at the end of this season, that would be fantastic.

"I'm really enjoying it and feel that I am getting better and improving all of the time.

"The Gaffer has got a good philosophy; we all enjoy coming into work and developing both as a team and individually.

"I felt that we bounced back well from the defeat at the hands of MK Dons with our goalless draw at Peterborough last week. The conditions were extremely difficult but we looked solid throughout and we have to continue that now."

This weekend sees Crawley Town arrive at Banks's Stadium for their first game since January 25th. John Gregory's side find themselves with as many as seven games in hand over the clubs around them.

"They are in a false position in the table," insisted Downing. "They will be determined to get back into action and we know that they have some good players in their side.

"That said, we fancy ourselves to beat anyone at home in this League and with our fans behind us, we can get back to the level of home performance where we were before MK Dons.

"Hopefully we can put on a good show on Saturday and get the three points."

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