Paul Downing: I'm confident Portsmouth will be in promotion mix despite loss at Shrewsbury - look at Luton last season

Paul Downing told the Fratton faithful not to panic after Pompey's curtain-raiser defeat and declared: We will mount a promotion challenge.

Monday, 5th August 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 11th August 2019, 12:04 pm

And the centre-back pinpointed how Luton went on to be crowned League One champions after losing to the Blues on the opening day last season.

Kenny Jackett's men suffered a 1-0 reverse at Shrewsbury on Saturday.

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And although the campaign began disappointingly, Downing – who arrived on a free transfer from Blackburn this summer – is certain the Blues will be vying for a Championship berth.

He said: ‘We know we are going to improve so stay patient. We have some good players at the club and we’ll be there or thereabouts, I’m sure.

‘We recognise we want to be near the top of the table and are not getting too down.

‘There’s a good squad here, we're a good team and I’m sure we’re going to come good.

Pompey defender Paul Downing. Picture: Simon Davies

‘What we need to do is keep working hard and keep doing the things we’re good at.

‘It’s one game out of 46 so we’ll be ready to go again.

‘I feel like we are ready to mount a real challenge. The boys weren’t far away last season and got a good points total.

‘We want to build on that and try to improve. We need to be consistent to get in the automatic-promotion places.

‘Luton lost their first game last season. A few lads were saying that in the dressing room.

‘There is a long way to go and we just need to stay calm, but I definitely believe we’re going to be near the top of the table – that’s for sure.’

But despite dominating large spells of the game, with John Marquis having a goal-bound shot cleared off the line, the Blues were unable to make their pressure count.

Nevertheless, Downing is adamant Jackett’s men will be challenging at the summit of the table throughout the campaign.

He added: ‘We wanted to start well and we wanted to get off to a good start.

‘It wasn’t to be but, like I say, I am sure that we will be there or thereabouts.’