Paul Downing handed first Portsmouth league start in 19 months in crucial AFC Wimbledon clash

Paul Downing is handed his first league start in more than 19 months as Pompey seek to claim a crucial victory at AFC Wimbledon.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 2:06 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st May 2021, 2:33 pm
Paul Downing is handed a rare Pompey start in the vital clash with AFC Wimbledon. Pictue: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages

The central defender was last named in a League One side in September 2019, when he lined-up against Burton.

However, Downing was granted 29 minutes off the bench in Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw at Accrington.

And this afternoon he partners Sean Raggett at centre-half, with Danny Cowley making three changes as Pompey enter their final two matches seeking play-off qualification.

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Rasmus Nicolaisen and James Bolton make way, with the three-man defence ripped up.

That marks a return to a back four, with Lee Brown restored at left-back following his hamstring injury.

Elsewhere, Ryan Williams is recalled in place of George Byers, with Pompey apparently fielding a 4-2-3-1 system.

With Brown back in the squad, Alfie Stanley drops out of the 18, although serves as 19th man.

Pompey: MacGillivray, Johnson, Downing, Raggett, Brown, Close, Naylor, Harness, Williams, Curtis, Marquis.

Subs: Ward, Byers, Bolton, Daniels, Nicolaisen, Cannon, White.