Paul Downing remaining mentally strong as he remains determined to win back Portsmouth starting spot

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Paul Downing is determined to win back his Pompey starting spot. 

The ex-Doncaster man has found himself firmly on the periphery of things after starting the season as first-choice centre-back.

Signing a three-year deal after arriving from Blackburn in June, Downing started the opening six League One games of the season.

However, he’s failed to feature in the third tier since the Blues’ 2-2 draw with Burton on September 17 and has fallen behind Christian Burgess, Sean Raggett and Oli Hawkins in the pecking order. 

Downing’s made only four appearances since, most recently in Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat of Northampton in the EFL Trophy.

The 28-year-old admitted he felt hard done by when he was omitted from Kenny Jackett’s starting line-up.

Paul Downing in action against Northampton. Picture: Sean Ryan

Paul Downing in action against Northampton. Picture: Sean Ryan

But he’s remained mentally prepared and is ready to seize his next opportunity. 

Downing said: ‘It is tough and you have got to stay mentally strong.

‘I’ve had it before in my career and I’ve got to train hard and wait for my chance.

‘Obviously, the boys are winning a lot of games at the minute but there are a lot of games to come over Christmas and I can still play my part.

‘I’m really determined to get back into the team and doing everything possible to achieve that.

‘You probably feel hard done by but there’s not a lot you can do.

‘The manage can only pick 11 players and I’m disappointed like everyone that doesn’t play.

‘But I’ve kept encouraging the lads and been a team player, so we’ll see what happens.’