Portsmouth maintain long-time pursuit of former Blackburn and Doncaster Rovers defender Paul Downing

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Pompey remain firmly in the chase for free-agent Paul Downing.

The central defender has been a long-time target of Kenny Jackett, who remains determined to succeed in his pursuit.

Following his release by Blackburn at the season’s end, Downing is presently weighing up his options.

Yet it is understood Pompey head the queue for the 27-year-old as they seek to recruit two centre-halves this summer.

The necessity to strengthen that position has arisen through the likelihood of Matt Clarke departing for Brighton.

In addition, the injured Jack Whatmough is not expected to be ready for first-team duty until February 2020.

Pompey target Paul Downing was a regular in the Blackburn side which won League One promotion in 2017-18

Pompey target Paul Downing was a regular in the Blackburn side which won League One promotion in 2017-18

Downing is not Jackett’s sole target, however, with Tom Lockyer, Curtis Tilt and Jason Pearce also occupying Pompey's wanted list.

Tilt and Pearce, though, are in the final year of their respective contracts and would therefore attract a transfer fee.

Inevitably, there’s also interest from Doncaster Rovers for Downing, where he spent the second half of last season.

The former West Brom apprentice made 22 appearances for Grant McCann’s side, who suffered League One semi-final play-off defeat to Charlton.

He appeared in both legs of the two-legged fixture, which was ultimately settled on penalties.

Certainly Jackett is hoping to tempt Downing to the south coast having initially looked at the defender during the January transfer window.

Instead, with an out-of-favour Christian Burgess remaining at Fratton Park and Clarke and Whatmough first-choice, no new centre-halves arrived during that month.

Pompey’s boss, though, has now reignited his interest in a player who featured 28 times during Blackburn’s League One promotion in 2017-18.