Portsmouth centre-back's summer plans after spending majority of the season out of favour

Paul Downing is readying himself to fight his way back into the Pompey fray.

Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 5:14 pm

It is understood the centre-back is determined to be part of Kenny Jackett’s plans for the upcoming season.

Downing arrived on the south coast on a free transfer from Blackburn last summer, signing a three-year deal.

Having impressed on loan at Doncaster during the second half of the 2018-19 campaign, he was earmarked to be first-choice centre-half during pre-season.

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Downing started the opening six League One matches, partnering Christian Burgess, Sean Raggett and Tom Naylor.

The former Walsall man only made a further five appearances for the Blues, which were all in cup competitions.

Pompey defender Paul Downing. Picture: Nigel Keane

Downing was recalled to the bench in the final game against Fleetwood before the suspension of the season, while he was an unused substitute in both legs in the play-off semi-final defeat to Oxford.

The 28-year-old certainly has a battle on his hands if he's to thrust himself back into Jackett’s set-up, having been out of favour for most of the campaign.

Sections of fans expected him to move on to pastures new this summer – but that’s not the case.

Downing has enjoyed living on the south coast and settled down in the area. Now he wants to impress in pre-season and make his mark.

Jackett praised Downing’s work during the lockdown period as he remains just one of two senior centre-backs under contract.

Meanwhile, Raggett’s loan spell from Norwich City has expired.

Whatmough has a year left on his current deal. The Gosport lad has recovered from his knee setback but opted to stay away from group training sessions during the coronavirus crisis, putting the health and well being of his young family first.

Naylor is also capable of operating in a centre-back role.