Insider: Paul Downing has been steady for Blackburn and move to Portsmouth would be good opportunity 

Paul Downing. Picture: Nigel French/ PA Images
Paul Downing. Picture: Nigel French/ PA Images
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Blackburn reporter, Rich Sharpe, from the Lancashire Telegraph gives the lowdown on Pompey target Paul Downing.

Pompey would be getting a steady and dependable defender in Paul Downing.

Darragh Lenihan and Charlie Muglrew have been the first choice central pairing since the back end of 2016.

Lenihan got injured on the opening day of last season and it was a lot worst than feared.

His first game was actually at Pompey in February last year, but it's meant that since then Downing has been phased out.

He's played when there's been a back three or when Lenihan and Mulgrew didn't feature this season.

He's played four times this season with three starts in the Championship.

Downing has been pretty steady every time he's played – and steady is a good word to describe him really.

He's got six months left on his contract and Tony Mowbray is pretty good with his players.

If an opportunity comes up that he thinks is good for the player, while he wouldn't want to weaken his side, he'd recognise a good opportunity for them.

That's why moving to Portsmouth would be in Downing’s favour.

It's a good club for him to try something different.

Mowbray had him at West Brom as a kid and, like a lot of the West Brom lads, he went to Walsall and was part of that successful team with the likes of Romaine Sawyer and Tom Bradshaw which went close to promotion.

He clocked up a fair few appearances there before going to MK Dons, where it didn't work our for him.

Downing was signed by Mowbray because he knew him and someone was going to be needed on deadline day with Lenihan out.

When he came in the team kept six clean sheets in his first six matches.

He was always seen as a deputy, although he played a big part in the promotion last season.

That earned him a new deal but the manager here does have a first-choice pairing.

Now Mowbray sees Jack Rodwell as more of a central defender than central midfielder, so the former Manchester City man is above Downing in the pecking order.

That looks like it could now lead to him leaving Ewood Park.