Former Blackburn defender Paul Downing ready to bury frustrations and play central Portsmouth role
Paul Downing has targeted burying last season’s frustrations with an appearance-laden Pompey campaign.
The defender is aiming to match the raft of Blues players who got 50-plus games under their belt in an epic season last term.
Five Pompey players made over 50 appearances last season with two cup runs supplemented by reaching the play-offs.
Downing wants to be ready to face the demands of a similar schedule this time around.
He said: ‘I only played 20-odd games last season with the first half of the season being frustrating.
‘So I feel fit, mentally fresh for the season and looking forward to the challenge.
‘Hopefully it can be a successful one for everyone involved at Portsmouth.
‘I want to play as many games as possible, so I want to make sure I’m as robust as possible.
‘All the work now is building towards that.
‘You need to be able to handle three games a week and the gaffer has spoken about that behind the scenes.
‘We need to be ready to put in the work required.’
Pompey were given a decent test of their credentials as they stepped up their pre-season work against Hawks.
The 2-1 win was a reflection of a contest in which there wasn’t much between the two sides.
Downing was pleased Paul Doswell’s side offered a strong challenge after the 11-0 romp against League of Ireland side UCD last Wednesday.
He added: ‘It was a good test against decent opposition.
‘We needed that after Wednesday, which wasn’t as competitive.
‘I felt it was a good exercise and we’ll be better for it
‘We got what we needed out of it and now we look forward to the games to come.
‘It was quite tough. It always seems to be hot in pre-season nowadays, but we’ll benefit from that in the long run.
‘There’s stuff to work on as there always is but the boys put in a good shift and there’s time to get things right.’