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POSITIVES FOR PAUL

25 March 2014

Downing back in the team and on the scoresheet...

SADDLERS' defender, Paul Downing, returned to the starting line-up at the weekend and celebrated by scoring his first goal for the club on home soil.

The 22 year-old slotted back into the heart of the back-line extremely well, however, for the second game in a row, a late equaliser deflected into the net off him.

"We were frustrated with the result, but I felt that overall we gave a good account of ourselves," he said. "They've been up there all season but we really tested them and they knew that they had been in a game at the end.

"We'll take the positives. This is a big week for us and we can't be too down about the equaliser as we have to be ready to go to Bradford with confidence on Tuesday evening.

"From a personal point of view, it was nice to be back out there and in the starting line-up. It was my first goal at home and it was nice that it came in front of our fans.

"I should have scored more goals, to be honest, and I had a good chance shortly after my goal on Saturday. The challenge is to add to my tally now.

"Unfortunately for the second game in a row the equalising goal has deflected in off me. That's football and nine times out of ten they will go wide or over, but it's not going for us at the moment.

"We have to keep our heads up and continue to work hard as the luck will start to change."

Whilst Downing was naturally disappointed to have been dropped for three games this month, he returned refreshed and even more determined against The O's.

"I felt good on Saturday," he added. "I have worked on a few things in training and generally feel refreshed both mentally and physically.

"Hopefully I can keep my place for the remaining games of the season now.

"There are still plenty of points to play for and there are sure to be many twists and turns ahead for all teams. We know that we have to go on a good run and it would be nice to think that we can return to winning ways against Bradford City.

"It will be a tough test for us but we will make sure that we're at it and ready for the challenge. Hopefully we can stamp our authority on the game and come away with a result.

"It's a big stadium for this level, one that I've never played at before, and we go there with no fear, ready to play the kind of football that I know we are capable for that.

"At this stage of the season every team has something still to play for and hot on the heels of Tuesday's game comes another important one against a Shrewsbury Town side that are fighting for their lives."

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