Kenny Jackett: Paul Downing still has a Portsmouth future

Kenny Jackett insists axed Paul Downing still has a Fratton Park future.

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 5:23 pm

In his first-team absence, the newly-assembled partnership of Jack Whatmough and Sean Raggett have recorded successive clean sheets.

What’s more, Jackett prefers the versatility of James Bolton on the bench, offering substitute cover at right-back and centre-half.

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Downing could well find himself in Pompey’s side at Brighton in the Carabao Cup tomorrow night (7.45pm) should Whatmough be rested.

Nonetheless, the 28-year-old continues to be frustrated by his lack of involvement.

Jackett told The News: ‘Paul trained well in pre-season, is completely fit and been okay. He is waiting for his chance and opportunity.

‘He played against Stevenage and hasn’t played since then. Instead I have gone with Whatmough and Raggett and they have both done well.

Paul Downing once again finds himself out of the Pompey first-team frame. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘Paul has to keep pushing. I do feel, in terms of the sub bench, sometimes we load it slightly where people like Tom Naylor and James Bolton can cover centre-half and it gives me more options going forward.

‘I do think he has a future here, though.

‘He has to keep going, I don’t think he has given up at all. He is frustrated, though, and wants to play and does want a chance.

‘We have spoken about it and he is frustrated about the situation not playing.

‘But Jack’s had a good pre-season, I made the change after the Stevenage game and we’ve had two clean sheets since then.’

Downing has not made a League One appearance since September 17, 2019.

Since that 2-2 draw with Burton, he has totalled just five outings – all arriving in cup competition.

In total, the former Blackburn man has played 15 times since his arrival on a three-year deal in the summer of 2019.

But Jackett insists his services are still required.

The Blues boss added: ‘If a phone rang that would be different, as it would be for any player.

‘As I said, it’s a balance between looking after the player and looking after the club as well.

‘You need a squad and it’s hard to really predict how things are going to go between now and November 1, with games and covid.

‘To sum up Paul’s situation at the moment, Whatmough and Raggett have been the first choice.

‘But he has shown a good attitude and worked really hard at trying to get into the side.’

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