Portsmouth v Doncaster Rovers – Promotion repeat top of agenda for Paul Downing

PROMOTION PUSH: Paul Downing, in action for Blackburn against Sheffield Wednesday's Steven Fletcher. Picture: Steve Ellis
PROMOTION PUSH: Paul Downing, in action for Blackburn against Sheffield Wednesday's Steven Fletcher. Picture: Steve Ellis
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Paul Downing is hoping to make a quick return to the Championship with Doncaster Rovers.

The defender helped Blackburn Rovers clinch promotion from League One last season, but only managed three games in the second tier of English football before his loan move to Doncaster last month.

The 27-year-old made his debut in the FA Cup win over Oldham last weekend, and will make his league bow for Grant McCann’s side today at League One promotion rivals Portsmouth.

Downing is eager for another chance of Championship football.

“This season the three games I had was my first taste of the Championship,” said Downing, who was unbeaten for Blackburn against Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest. “I managed the situation well and want to play my football there regularly if I can. Hopefully, if this club can get promoted – and I don’t see why we can’t – that’s the aim to get a run of games in the Championship.

“My future is something we will have to deal with in the summer. I am out of contract, but they hold an option on me. Blackburn are still my parent club, but I am here to try and get regular games if I can. Help the club get where they want to get to, and for me to keep improving. I want to try and get better.

“This season (at Blackburn) was difficult. It was a step up in division and I managed to get a couple of games, test myself, and I thought I did okay.

“But for one reason or another I didn’t manage to get a run in the team. When you are not even on the bench it becomes very tough for a footballer not doing anything on a weekend.

“Mentally it was a challenge, but I enjoyed my time at Blackburn, they were good to me.”

Doncaster, seventh in the table, travel to second-placed Pompey today looking to reel in the top six.

I learned a lot last year, being part of a big club with an expectation to get out of the league. I am hoping what I learned I can use this season.

Paul Downing

Downing hopes his experience of promotion from League One last season will prove valuable in the run-in.

“I learned a lot last year, being part of a big club with an expectation to get out of the league,” he said.

“I am hoping what I learned I can use this season.

“I am sure there are going to be a lot of twists and turns, as there always are, as we try and get in that top six.

“What I have seen in training so far, and having played last week, the boys have a good chance if we can be consistent and keep our level of performances high.”